By definition, divorce is a time of personal upheaval. A new household is created, parent-child relationships are destabilized, and serious questions about the rights to financial support, or a certain share of the marital property, can generate considerable anxiety.
A large part of Holly's job is helping clients understand the rights and obligations of a divorcing spouse and parent. With a clear sense of the legal position, a client can express his/her key interests and essential objectives. Then Holly and her team work toward achieving these goals through the most efficient means possible: collaborative law, negotiation, mediation, or when necessary, litigation in family court.
The point of divorce is to undo the legal relationship created by marriage while protecting the personal interests and family relationships that will survive its dissolution.
Just about every aspect of a client’s life will be affected. Holly advises on the practical and legal implications of divorce while helping her clients through this difficult transition. Some of the issues she addresses are:
Rights and responsibilities as a parent — child support, child custody and visitation
Financial security — property division, apportionment of debts, and in some cases, alimony
Future family relationships — modifying or enforcing child custody or support arrangements, redrafting wills and other estate planning instruments, and re-designating insurance or pension beneficiaries
Most issues in divorce are resolved through negotiation, but to get the most out of an agreement, it is essential that clients know their rights and responsibilities, and have clearly defined goals and objectives.
Holly is a certified mediator who helps clients get the most out of mediation through careful preparation and focused participation. Not all cases can be resolved through mediation or other alternative dispute resolution techniques, but many times mediation can substantially reduce legal fees and anxiety.
Mediation is a highly-focused negotiation session on one or more issues that is led and facilitated by a neutral mediator appointed by the parties. Although the mediator cannot force a settlement, he or she can comment on the strength of each party’s position and suggest avenues of negotiation, keeping the focus on the issues. Mediation is most effective when two parties cannot agree on major issues, such as child custody or property division.
Holly also serves as the neutral third-party in family law mediation.
Holly’s focus in divorce cases where children are involved is to negotiate in the best interest of the child. For most parents, insulating their children from the trauma of divorce is a priority. Holly focuses on helping parents reconcile their own objectives with the immediate and long-term needs of their children. This can be difficult, especially in cases where one parent or the other presents serious issues ranging from substance abuse to financial irresponsibility.
In cases of difficult child custody and possession issues, Holly’s experience helps a parent focus on the child’s interests objectively while defining his or her own goals. She also advises when a parent is behaving irresponsibly and can show parents how to defuse conflict and approach agreement.
Mediation or collaborative law is often an effective way to resolve issues involving primary physical custody, child support or possession schedules. Generally, it is necessary that both parents are capable of meeting the full range of their responsibilities. Holly often advises that clients work with mental health professionals to develop a baseline understanding of their strengths and weaknesses as a parent.