People of faith can find themselves in serious conflicts which require the help of others to resolve. There may be conflicts between spouses, within families, between friends and business associates, or even within faith communities. And like all conflicts, some of these by necessity or preference wind up in court.

This can raise a huge problem. Courts are limited by a fundamental legal principle called the Religious Question Doctrine, from the religion clauses of the First Amendment. Those clauses are intended to promote religious freedom, and so courts are barred from deciding any questions related to religious practice or doctrine. Unfortunately, a practical downside is that courts avoid taking faith traditions of either side into account when deciding the outcome of a case. What happens when someone wants to resolve a dispute while giving respect to the principles or values of their faith?

Courts avoid taking faith traditions into account when deciding the outcome of a case.

Fortunately, a lawsuit isn’t the only way to resolve legal issues. The Collaborative Law process can be ideal for doing this. It is a structured legal process that occurs out of court, and the decision makers are the parties themselves. In the collaborative process, the professional collaborative team guides people in conflict to work together to craft a solution to their problems in a safe, private and respectful manner, with room to take into account the heart beliefs that really matter to the people involved.

The Collaborative Law Process takes into account the core heart beliefs & parties craft solutions that address their underlying values and interests.

In the collaborative process, ground rules are agreed in advance by signing a formal contract. These ground rules include the commitment of both sides to voluntarily and completely share all important information before reaching agreements. Each party is represented by a dedicated settlement attorney who is trained to protect the process, and his or her client. Specially trained neutral professionals, like mediators, financial specialists, and child and family specialists, can be brought in as needed to facilitate communication, or to assist in gathering and evaluating information. Solutions are crafted that address not only the legal dispute, but the underlying values and interests of the parties.

For more information, contact Laura Schlenker.

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