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Information For Professionals

Are You Really Ready for Divorce? The 8 Questions You Need to Ask

Analysis Finds Parties Generally Err in Rejecting Settlement to go to Trial

A study of civil lawsuits over the last 40 years indicates that parties often make poor decisions when passing up settlements prior to trial, and that such mistakes are becoming more common. In only 15% of cases did both sides make the right decision to go to trial, with the verdict falling between what the plaintiff demanded and the defendant offered. Plaintiffs were wrong to proceed to trial 61% of the time, with an average loss of $43,000 in recent years. Defendants were only wrong 24% of the time, but their average loss was $1.1 million. The advocate's years of experience, rank of law school and size of firm were less related to bad decisions than the type of case. Errors tended to be made by plaintiffs in cases where contingency fees are common, and by defendants where insurance coverage is generally unavailable. The study, said to be the largest ever of its type, is forthcoming in the Journal of Empirical Legal Studies.

New York Times (August 7, 2008); Journal of Empirical Legal Studies

Mediation Helps Heirs Minimize Conflict over Estates

Mediation can be helpful to preserve relationships among heirs who get into squabbles when dividing estates left by family members. While conflicts can be minimized through proactive steps to make decisions before death and provide clear instructions on disposition, there are also numerous techniques ranging from blind drawings to drawing cards that can provide processes for allocating assets that seem fair to all involved.

Toledo Blade (July 6, 2008)

Mediation just a quarter of the cost of lawyer-to-lawyer settlements (1/21/08) Geoff Sharp

Apparently David Hoffman's Boston Law Collaborative has analyzed 199 of its recent divorce cases, and found that mediation, collaborative divorce and litigation all produced high rates of successful settlement. Mediation was by far the least expensive option, with a median cost of …

Tips For Parents Engaged In The Collaborative Family Law Process (10/29/07)
Gay Cox http://www.mediate.com/articles/cox2.cfm

You are to be commended for choosing Collaborative Practice as the means to solve any problems that you and your children's other parent might have because you decided to separate. It is evident that you want the best possible outcome for your children and see this as a means of achieving it. Based on experience with families who select this method of problem-solving, it is apparent that they tend to have some very important common values and goals. It may be helpful to you to learn what parents who have been successful in accomplishing these goals have used as their strategies.