Economically more affordable
Out of Court Settlement Focus
ECO DIVORCE is an innovative approach and modernization of the divorce process with the goal of avoiding expensive, emotionally destructive and time-consuming court battles. The inclusive, out of court settlement alternative seeks a win-win for the couple and children by maximizing the opportunity for resolution while minimizing the damage separation and divorce can wreak on the lives of all involved. Economically more affordable, Eco Divorce’s cooperative and collaborative negotiation and mediation is not about ‘fighting’; it’s about resolution.
An ECO DIVORCE process can be accomplished via collaborative practice, mediation or negotiation. The ultimate goal of these processes is to obtain a legally durable separation agreement, which resolves all the issues without the need to go to court. These process options are described below.
- Settling issues without the Courts saves time and money while minimizing emotional and financial stress.
- Staying out of the Court system means documentation exchanged and information revealed is kept confidential, and is not available for public scrutiny, as are Court documents.
By reducing the emotional, financial and psychological toxicity of a divorce or separation, Eco Divorce meets the challenges in the least adversarial, most beneficial and respectful way, allowing you to move on with living your life.
Shirley has helped hundreds, if not thousands, of people over the years move through divorce and separation, into the next phase of their lives. Her philosophy is to work with you, and focus on your best interests, while at the same time striving for a fair agreement.
In this out of court settlement process, each spouse has their own collaboratively trained lawyer. There is a written commitment not to go to Court, but rather to negotiate in good faith with the end goal being:
- To minimize the destructiveness separation/divorce can have on the family
- Maximize the opportunity for a creative and enduring agreement
Negotiations are done through a series of team meetings. The team may consist of the two spouses and their two lawyers. However, other professionals including financial and family professionals, may be included from the outset, or added during the negotiations. In the event one or both spouses ultimately wish to go to Court, both spouses must get new lawyers.
For more information on Collaborative Practice visit the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals at www.collaborativepractice.com
Settlement negotiation involves the lawyers of each spouse attempting to negotiate a settlement out of court.
If the negotiation is successful – the settlement – incorporated into a separation agreement – deals with issues that are relevant to the particular couple. Once the agreement is finalized and signed, the only matter left for a Judge to order is the actual legal termination of the marriage.
If the negotiation is not successful, then the issues not settled can either be sent to mediation and/or arbitration, or the couple will deal with them in Court.
Mediation is the dispute resolution process in which one professional is hired by the couple to assist them in reaching either an entire agreement, or deal with specific issues in an agreement. The mediator’s job is not to give legal advice, but to be a conduit for settlement.
In mediation, each spouse must have his or her own lawyer to provide independent legal advice with respect to the legal issues. A mediator may:
- Draft the agreement, leaving it to the lawyers of each spouse to finalize the specific wording.
- Alternatively, once the agreement has been mediated and the terms agreed to, one of the lawyers may proceed to draft it, thus still leaving the “final touches” to be negotiated directly between the lawyers.
In the event an agreement cannot be reached with mediation, the outstanding issue(s) can either be dealt with through arbitration, or through the Court system.
Arbitration is an out of Court process in which a senior lawyer acts as “Judge”, and is retained to hear evidence and make binding decision(s). Each spouse has his or her own lawyer. The process does not occur in a courtroom, however, the Arbitrator’s decision can be appealed to a Court. In many situations, the couple will choose the person who acted as mediator to proceed to be the Arbitrator, so as to have the person who is familiar with the issue(s) continue on, rather than starting with someone new.
Litigation involves the spouses proceeding to Court to have a Judge make a decision in their case. Shirley has litigated at the Ontario Court of Justice, Superior Court of Justice, Divisional Court, Federal Court of Appeal, and assisted at the Court of Appeal, Ontario. She has the experience and knowledge you deserve should a court process be required.