Collaborative Law was created in the late 1990s. It came to Central New York in the early 2000s. An estimated 95% of parties can be successful using Collaborative Law to obtain a divorce. Collaborative law uses a team approach to resolve the issues. The team consists of the parties and their attorneys, a facilitator, who is a mental health professional, as well as a financial professional. The team can be created based on the needs of the parties. The process provides a high level of support for the parties.
The success of Collaborative Law is attributed to the commitment that the parties make to honesty and transparency. The parties agree to disclose financial documentation. The attorneys agree that they will not take the case to litigation, providing incentive for all parties to continue to work toward resolution. The Collaborative team is a safe place for issues to be resolved.
Advantages of Collaboration over litigation are privacy, control over the speed of the process, and freedom to include matters that are important to you, not only matters that the court allows. As you restructure your family, you can gain practice in new ways to communicate. Change is hard. Collaboration doesn’t cause further damage to the family.
Ms. Giardina is a trained mediator. Mediation is not the practice of law, but knowledge of the law is essential to assist couples as they resolve the many issues involved in negotiating family matters. In mediation, the parties make their own decisions. The role of the mediator is to educate and assist the clients, as a neutral party.
When the decisions have been made, Ms. Giardina will draft an agreement for the parties to sign. Agreements include Separation Agreements that can be incorporated into a Judgment of Divorce, Prenuptial or Postnuptial Agreements, and agreements to modify custody or child support provisions, that can be the basis for a new family court order. Ms. Giardina will complete the paperwork for an undefended divorce action, or draft the necessary documents to submit an agreement to the family court.
Upon divorce, frequently a pension, 401(k), or other retirement fund must be divided by court order. Ms. Giardina will draft the necessary order, obtain pre-approval from the plan administrator, when possible, submit the order to the court for the judge’s signature, and file it with the plan administrator.
Unbundled legal services, or limited scope representation, involves representing a client for a defined part of the legal process. Attorney Giardina can assist clients in a variety of ways. Below are some unbundled legal services: