A Better Divorce
July 4, 2009 4:12pm

Does divorce necessarily have to bring about harm? Hasn’t the harm already occurred in the relationship?   Do you and your spouse need more hurtful actions?

The way litigation attorneys are taught to fight for our client can wreak havoc in relationships.  Even if the marriage relationship is ending, do you want it to end with bloodshed?  And many times the relationship is not really ending.  It is re-forming to a relationship as co-parents. 

As your marriage fell apart, you two have probably used some harsh words.  You have used your words as weapons.   In collaborative and mediation, you learn to use your words as tools.  To build a better divorce. 

What if attorneys had the same creed as doctors.  “Do no harm”.  Can we?  Can we help in a divorce without making it worse?  I believe we can, but only if the forum where the divorce process not only allows, but promotes a safe and controlled transition.    

Less conflict means less stress for you and your family. 

Posted by Barbara Bartlett

Collaborative Divorce
May 21, 2009 2:46pm

The American Bar Association had a pamphlet where the collaborative divorce is 1/10 to 1/20th the cost of a regular divorce.  Why can it be cheaper.  All the time of your lawyer is spent at working towards mutual agreement.  No money is spent on tearing the other person down, or in listing your best traits. 

Don't fight about it.  Settle your divorce with professionals who are committed to reaching settlement. 

Posted by Barbara Bartlett

What to do if you are going to represent yourself
May 21, 2009 2:41pm

If you are headed for a divorce in the Tulsa county area, and have decided not to hire an attorney to help you, there is still a way you can get legal help without the expsense.  It is nationally known as 'unbundled legal services' even though that term is not well known in the Tulsa area.  We tend to use the word pro se to talk aobut people who do not have lawyers.

You can hire an attorney to give you advice, and to assit you in certain documents.  The attorney can even coach you thru a hearing.  You have to understand, though, that the attorney does not take full responsibility for your case.  Typically the attorney meets with you to discuss what you might need.  Then a list is made of what the attonrey will do and not do for you, depending on your needs, desires, and budget.    

A book that can introduce to this subject is Unbundling Your Divorce, How to Find a Lawyer to Help You Help Yourself, by Sue Talia. 

Posted by Barbara Bartlett

Divorce: A Possible Money Mistake
May 21, 2009 2:40pm

Consumer Reports did a piece in February 2008 about "12 Money Mistakes That Could Cost You $1,000,000". Number three on the list is "Launching a Divorce War." The article quotes divorce in the Los Angeles area from $65,000 for a limited contested divorce to $250,000 for a full-courtroom litigation process. Though divorce costs in the Tulsa area aren't as high, they still can be quite overbearing.

Consumer Reports suggestion is to "work more toward diplomacy than war, which will increase the viability of the low-cost mediation option." A low-conflict divorce, like a collaborative one, can generally be solved for about seventy-five (75) percent less than going to court. Some sources, like the Amercian Bar Association, feel that a collaborative divorce is one-tenth to one-twentieth the cost.

If you're considering divorce, look into the option of collaborative law for the resolution to your marital problems. Barbara Bartlett of the Tulsa area, has had years of training, and training others, in resolving conflict.  

Don't fight about it. Settle your divorce in the financially responsible way. Contact Barbara Bartlett to talk about your collaborative divorce options in Tulsa County.

Posted by Emily Mapes

Trying to save money in a Tulsa divorce
May 21, 2009 2:40pm

The easiest way to save money is not to spend any money on an attorney.  That certainly is not wise when it comes to drafting documents that you want to have a legal affect.  But as stated in my previous Blog entry, you can hire an attorney for just some things, like drafting the documents.

A second way is for you to hire me as your attorney.  You can see if you spouse is comfortable in meeting with both of us.  I do not use threatening or coercive tactics with your spouse.  Respect is the key to hearing one another, and we can't settle until both of you feel heard.  If we get to settlement, I would ask your spouse, if she/he had not already done so, to contact an attorney for legal advice and to look over the final paperwork. 

If we are unable to come up with a settlement, I ask that your spouse hire a collaborative attorney so that we can start the collaborative process.  They must hire a Tulsa attorney who has been trained in collaborative law. 


Posted by Barbara Bartlett

Comparing Methods
May 21, 2009 2:38pm
Over the many entries on this blog, the advantages of collaborative divorce have been listed entry after entry. However, you should know all of your options before deciding if collaborative divorce is right for you. The most common procedural methods for divorce are pro se, mediation, collaborative practice, and traditional litigation.
“Pro se” is a Latin phrase which literally means “for myself”. In this kind of divorce, the parties represent themselves. Advantages to this type of conflict resolution include the lowest cost possible in divorce proceedings and assurance that non-parties will not create or worsen conflict. There are some disadvantages, though. Without legal advice, neither party may understand the law or their legal rights. Also, agreements made in pro se family law disputes may have unintended consequences, or parties may have problems closing their case due to lack of legal knowledge. Pro se divorces also may put one party in a position to exploit the other in negotiations.

Mediation is where the parties in a family law dispute hire a third party to assist them in reaching agreements. The mediator does not have to be a lawyer. The goal of this process is to allow parties to reach agreements that meet the needs of both parties and their children without the financial and emotional cost of a court battle. However, if the parties don’t retain an attorney to represent them in addition to retaining the mediator, they will have to proceed without legal advice since the mediator cannot provide legal advice to either of the parties. If attorneys are hired, though, the parties involved will not save as much financially.

Traditional litigation is perhaps the form of divorce most familiar to Americans today. Both parties hire attorneys who provide legal advice and represent the positions of their client in negotiations and court hearings. This process is a very well defined and structured process that provides each party with the ability to compel the cooperation of the opposing party and third parties in providing information. The costs of this type of proceeding can be enormous, though, and a judge controls the outcome of contested matters. This type of divorce is also very public and can create unnecessary tension within the family unit. Traditional litigation can take much longer than other proceedings as well, because timing of litigation is subject to court dockets and other factors beyond the parties’ control.

Collaborative divorce, most often discussed in relation to Tulsa County on this blog, is a process in which separated or divorcing couples work as a team with trained professionals to resolve disputes respectfully without going to court. Each client has their own lawyer, and all four adults work together to find a solution that works best for all parties involved. This places the parties in control of the process, and allows priority to be given to any children that are involved. All information is disclosed and all aspects of the situation are talked about in the most respectful manner. If one of the parties doesn’t fully disclose or participate as they agreed to at the beginning of the process, though, the collaborative relationships are damaged and could potentially cost the parties involved increased time and money.

Don’t fight about it. Choose a collaborative process to resolve your family’s issues here in Tulsa County.
Posted by Emily Mapes
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