Can litigation be unavoidable?


Often a client will say that they’ve talked to another lawyer and been told that this can only be done by litigation. Typically, this is the farthest thing from the truth. When the collaborative law process was first invented, it was said that you can’t do a case in which there are violence issues or mental health issues. In fact, when I started training as a mediator, they said that if there’s violence, you can’t do mediation. And in recent years that statement has been retracted.

In mediation, there are more tools available. Mediators can protect people in a way that courts cannot. For example, the court process can’t protect someone from being cross-examined and put on display in public. 

In all of the dispute resolution processes, mediators make sure that clients are safe and comfortable with the process. There are divorce coaches, which assist us in that process. There are registered clinical counselors, who are trained in our process, and help the parties deal with mental health issues, with communication issues, and with parenting plans because that’s what they’re specialists in. And so the tools that are available in mediation often make it a better choice than litigation. So I never say that litigation is the best choice or the only choice.