I specialize in helping folks have peaceful divorces, while serving as an advising lawyer, mediator, or Collaborative attorney. I no longer participate in any family law litigation.
A common question I get from prospective clients facing possible divorce goes something like this: “What is the Oregon law on the topic of _________ ?”. My typical response is something like “You can do virtually anything you want under Oregon law, so let’s talk about what works best for your family.”
Well over 80% or Oregon divorce cases are resolved by an agreement of the parties rather than a decision imposed by a judge. That can come from the spouses negotiating together one-on-one, in mediation, or with the help of attorneys. When the partners reach a resolution of their issues, the court will automatically approve that in a dissolution Judgment virtually 100% of the time. So, the family’s real challenge is how to best work together to achieve a win-win result for themselves (and especially for their kids).
The more peaceful and family-centered the divorce process is, the more control the participants retain over the final result. Using mediation or the Collaborative Law process, divorcing spouses can, with the assistance of conflict resolution specialists, advocate for themselves and craft a plan tailored to optimally meet the needs of all concerned. Factoring in the legitimate needs of all family members, spouses can gain sense of closure and have confidence that their agreements will be durable and continue to feel equitable over time. On the other hand, results that are forced on one or both participants by a Judge, or through hard-edged lawyer negotiations on the courthouse steps, often lead to a lingering sense of resentment and continuing conflict that can erupt into future litigation.
I’ve assisted on well over 500+ successful mediations over the last 15 years. Not one of those agreements have been overturned by the Judge who signed the dissolution Judgment. That’s hundreds of families that determined what they needed going forward, instead of having a stranger in a black robe apply an arbitrary, legal cookie-cutter to their lives. Many of my clients have developed creative solutions to the unique circumstances of their family – I compare it to having a suit of clothes made by a tailor rather than pulling something off the rack and hoping it will fit.
When married, we don’t run our daily lives together by referencing Oregon laws. Instead, we live organically and respond to situations are they arise with the best resources and wisdom that we can bring to bear at the time. An experienced mediator or Collaborative attorney can assist you to do the same in the midst of the whirlwind of challenges that a divorce brings. With the right help, peaceful divorce is possible, I’m convinced, far faster, better, and cheaper than the alternative.