Conner, Lawrence, Rodney, Olhiser & Barrett, LLP are recognized leaders in alternative dispute resolution, including collaborative practice and mediation.  We believe that a good settlement is often better and healthier for our clients than a costly, adversarial trial.


A Different Way To Resolve Conflict

Going through a legal conflict such as divorce doesn’t automatically mean having to endure the turmoil that is often associated with it. You now have another choice, Collaborative Practice. Developed as an alternative to traditional divorce, Collaborative Practice is an option for divorcing couples to resolve disputes respectfully without going to court. It offers couples a humane, solutions-based approach to ending a relationship.  Collaborative Practice is also an option for other legal disputes such as contested probates.

It differs from the traditional process because Collaborative Practice promotes respect and keeps control of the process with the parties, not a judge. Because clients agree not to go to court, the process is more open and less adversarial. The goal is to enhance communication throughout the process and lay the foundation for a healthier relationship during, and after, the resolution of the dispute.

Collaborative Practice is based on three principles:

  1. The parties pledge in writing not to go to court.
  2. Both parties engage in an honest exchange of information.
  3. Each solution takes into account the highest priorities of the parties and other related persons, such as children or other family members.

How Does Collaborative Practice Work?


The goal of collaborative practice is to come to a mutually acceptable, negotiated settlement between the parties without the threat of going to court.  In this practice, each of the parties retains their own collaborative attorney who will gather information, provide education on rights, responsibilities and options, and negotiate on their behalf.


At the center of collaborative practice are the needs of the entire family, especially the children’s. With collaborative practice, conflict is kept to a minimum so all family members can move on positively with their lives.


Collaborative practice is a good choice when each party prefers to have his or her own independent attorney guide them through the legal process.  If the participants ultimately are unable to agree, the collaborative attorneys withdraw and litigation attorneys can be retained to take the matter to court.



The Collaborative Team – Centered Around You.


To move on positively, there are times when working with other professionals can be helpful and can facilitate coming to an agreement.  Coaches can assist in developing communication tools and managing difficult emotions.  Child specialists can work with parents in creating a parenting plan that works best for the children.  Financial specialists can help gather and analyze financial information.  Valuation consultants can provide neutral valuations of assets.  Vocational consultants can provide information regarding training, education and employment opportunities.


Benefits of Collaborative Practice

  • Better for your children. Children are given a voice in the process, alleviating potential trauma that sometimes lasts for generations.
  • You remain in control. Decision making is directly in the hands of the parties involved in the dispute rather than the hands of a third party, “one size fits all” directive.
  • You enjoy confidentiality. Problems and assets are kept private.
  • Solutions are mutually beneficial. The collaborative process recognizes and understands each client’s needs, interests concerns and goals, while allowing all parties to be heard throughout the duration.
  • Focus on the future. Collaboration changes the notion of a legal conflict from adversarial and win/lose to a problem-solving constructive process.


Couple Divorcing