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One state compels collaboration in divorce, child custody cases

Family courts in Maryland and across the nation are overburdened by packed dockets, staffing challenges, cases that take far longer than anticipated and a limited number of hours in the workweek. In many parts of the nation, efforts are taken to reduce the stress that divorce and child custody cases place on the judicial system. One state has passed a new law that compels spouses to at least attempt a collaborative approach prior to coming before the courts.

Those who support the Collaborative Process Law believe that encouraging parties to work through their differences on their own, outside of court, can have positive outcomes for both families and the judicial system. It is hoped that attorneys in the state will strengthen their skills in collaboration, and will encourage their clients to make a sincere effort to resolve their divorce issues outside of court. Even in cases where the courts are asked to determine some aspects of a case, the couple could come in with an agreement in place on many issues. 

Collaboration can be a great approach for many couples. It can reduce the length of time it takes to complete a divorce, it can reduce the level of contention between parties and can sometimes even reduce the ultimate cost of a divorce. That is an outcome that virtually all spouses can get behind.

It should be noted that while collaboration can be a great option for many Maryland couples, it is not suited for some. In cases where there is a history of controlling behavior or domestic abuse, the fundamental elements of the collaborative process are simply not present. Otherwise, collaboration is an approach that should be considered during divorce and child custody cases, even if it not required by law.

Source: legalscoops.com, "Will New Florida Law Usher in Kinder, Gentler Divorces?," Jacob Maslow, July 3, 2017

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