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Dispute Resolution: Know Your Options.


The term “dispute resolution” is a fancy way of talking about an array of methods and processes for parties to resolve their divorce, custody, visitation, and support matters. Some methods of dispute resolution are informal and do not require the help of professionals (e.g., mediators, attorneys, settlement conference judges). It is helpful for couples to know what specific dispute resolution methods exist so that they can choose the best option for their circumstances. While it is true that some couples may need to go to court to resolve all their issues, it is equally true that other couples may be able to resolve their issues with little help by any third-party. For this mini-series on dispute resolution options, we will briefly cover five basic options for couples to consider when deciding how best to move forward with their family law matter.

One dispute resolution option is “direct communication.” Simply, this option occurs between the couple, and is often overlooked, but has the benefit of providing a couple the most control over the outcome of their matter. This might look like the couple sitting down at the proverbial “kitchen table” and talking about what items or issues are most important to each of them, and then coming to agreements based on those conversation. This process typically begins well before they consider court intervention. Depending on the couple and the circumstances leading to the end of their relationship, having a direct conversation about may narrow the issues to be resolved and help the couple reach a final agreement that works for them and their family.

After the couple reaches an agreement, the next step may be for each party to discuss the agreements with their own experienced family law attorney. Some parties may find it helpful to hire their own attorney for the limited purpose of drafting agreements, reviewing agreements, and informing each party of the current and future effects of their agreements prior to entering into a formal property settlement agreement. (If you would like to learn more about Property Settlement Agreements, click here.) Then, with the help of their respective attorneys, the parties can resolve their matter out of court and the attorneys can ensure the smooth and efficient processing of pleadings to formalize their divorce matter.

While the direct communication route may not work for all couples, it is worth considering if parties value privacy, control, and want to find a cost-effective solution to resolving their matter.

If you have questions about the various dispute resolution approaches that might work for your case, contact our experienced attorneys at Morris Williams LLC – A Family Law Firm who look forward to empowering you to make the best decisions for your future. Contact us to today to schedule your consultation by calling (757) 226-9425 or email us at admin@morriswilliamslaw.com.