Jack and Jill have been business partners for over 30 years. Their children have grown up together. Their families have vacationed together for years. They have been looking forward to an eventual sale of the business so that they can travel more and enjoy life.

Jack and his wife, Jane are going through a hotly contested and bitter divorce. Jane is also best friends with Jill. Jane blames Jack’s devotion to the business for the break-up of her marriage and wants Jack to liquidate his interest. This has also severely strained her relationship with Jill.

Jack oversees sales for the business. Since the divorce was filed he has not had his usual chipper personality. Consequently, his customer base has dwindled. Business revenues have plummeted. There is a serious question about whether the business will survive. And, because sales have suffered the value of the business has diminished as compared to a year ago.

Jack’s lawyer is an effective litigator but is also trained in the application of Collaborative Law concepts to civil disputes. Jill’s lawyer has used Collaborative Law successfully in divorce proceedings for many years. Jack’s and Jill’s lawyers both believe that litigation is cost prohibitive in this matter, is likely to destroy the business and the friendships, and that it is possible to restore the business to its former level of relative prosperity. They are also aware that the emotional trauma of the divorce has taken a severe toll on Jack, Jane, Jill and their families and consequently the business. They have attempted mediation but found that the same arguments were just being rehashed and that no progress was made.

Jack’s lawyer and Jill’s lawyer, after discussing the collaborative process with their clients have asked to have a joint meeting. They want to discuss the use of Collaborative Law, not only to reach an amicable conclusion to the divorce but also to attempt to restore the value of the business. Everyone agrees that would provide the greatest benefit. Jack and Jane acknowledge that should Jack fail, Jill will fail, and the business will quickly follow leaving them all with no current means of support.

The use of Collaborative Law in a structured legal process provides the opportunity for resolution of business and family disputes through a self-directed, private process where the outcome is driven by the parties and not in a courtroom, nor determined by a process that is outside of their control.

The meeting is held, and Jack and Jane agree that it would be cheaper, faster and more beneficial for all if they can agree to work together to resolve these issues so that the business can survive, Jack can continue to earn a living and contribute to the economic welfare of his children and grandchildren. They also both acknowledge that the use of neutral financial and emotional support independent consultants, that are jointly engaged will be more economic and help separate the business aspects of their divorce from the emotions that have been driving their encounters to date.

“Attorneys Without Litigation” is a Collaborative Law network of independent lawyers and other professionals formed to offer an alternative to expensive litigation through a private and confidential process.

For more information, contact Stephen Rizzieri.

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