Process Choice Chart



Kitchen Table Approach

Direct negotiation between the parties. May work well if parties high-functioning and effective at communication with each other. Normally ineffective for negotiation of family conflicts. Allows for the domination, manipulation and coercion that frequently accompanies family disputes.

Early Intervention Mediation

May be done by a therapist, who may not be trained in mediation; or with a mediator who may not know the law. No access to legal advice and parties frequently make agreements that cannot be enforceable in court of law and/or omit issues that must be addressed.
We recommend this option with us as your lawyer because we can insure any agreements reached are enforceable and we can address issues often forgotten and/or omitted.

Collaborative Law

Open communication among both parties and both lawyers. Allows for the parties to make agreements on all the issues that need to be addressed and that such agreements are enforceable. True conflict resolution.
This recommended option deters future litigation, as parties are more likely to do what they agree to.


Caucus-style mediation. Agreements may be obtained on all issues in form that is enforceable. Requires three professionals – one lawyer for each party and one other professional to act as mediator. Usually takes place before temporary orders hearing and/or before final trial.
This recommended option deters much future enforcement and modification litigation, as parties are more likely to do what they agree to.

Special Master/Arbitrator

Private paid judge. Can accommodate speedier hearing, which is more private and convenient than may be obtainable at a courthouse. Nothing is “resolved,” it is simply decided by master/arbitrator decision maker.


Most public, intrusive, damaging avenue for resolution of family conflict. While ending some disputes, research shows the parties continue fighting, even against things the Judge ordered, as they see the Judge’s decision as being wrong. Sometimes it is the only way to end the matter.

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