Month September

  • Pre-Nuptial Agreements Can be Collaborative

    September 28, 2010

    A recent poll of divorce attorneys by the Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers revealed that 73% reported an increase in Pre-Nuptial Agreements over the past 5 years.   Significantly 52% reported an increase in the number of women initiating the Pre-Nuptial Agreement.

    When a prospective bride and groom negotiate a Pre-Nup, they are rarely adversaries.  Rather, they have a common goal of protecting their pre-marital assets, often for the benefit of children from a prior marriage or relationship.  They also have a shared interest in working out the terms of a separation (hoping one will never occur, of course) before any disputes between them can impair their cooperative spirit.

    Collaborative Practice offers the ideal process for designing a Pre-Nuptial plan that fits the needs of both parties.  Collaborative Practice is confidential, non-adversarial and is entirely outside the litigation arena.  Parties and their respective attorneys can meet together on their own terms and their own schedule.  Financial information is shared without the need for costly or formal “discovery” requests.  The resulting Agreement is the product of problem-solving of the highest order and a great model for the upcoming marriage.

    For more information on Collaborative Practice, contact Risa A. Kleiner, Esq. at 609.951.2222 or by email at  Risa is a Collaboratively-trained practitioner and mediator.

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  • Collaborative Divorce – Respectful Advocacy

    September 1, 2010

     Collaborative Divorce is growing in popularity.  The process allows the parties to negotiate the terms of their settlement with their lawyers by their side at all times.  It is a team approach that can include specialists, such as accountants or mental health professionals, when needed.  It is confidential and  less stressful and less expensive than litigation.  Why then, doesn’t everyone use this process? 

    Some divorcing couples fear that their lawyers will be “too nice” and may not advocate strongly enough for their position or that they’ll be forced to compromise too much and accept a settlement that is less than they would get in a court.  Not true.  Lawyers remain advocates throughout the Collaborative process.  But they use respectful communication to advocate for their client’s interests and they use their problem-solving skills to create unique settlements that meet both parties’ needs.  This creates a model that the parties can use in resolving issues that arise in the future.

    Some parties fear they are giving up their “rights” if they agree not to go to court.  Again, not true.  More than 97% of divorces ultimately settle in New Jersey.  So, settlement itself is the norm.  But, the way that settlement is reached may be painful and expensive if the parties go to war on opposite sides of a courtroom.  So why not commit to resolving the problems outside of court from the outset.  Of course, in the unlikely situation that the Collaborative process fails, the parties are free to retain litigation counsel and fight it out in the courts.  

    Collaborative professionals recognize divorce for what it is — a difficult transition from married life to single life.  The transition is painful — emotionally and financially– and often has a negative impact on the children caught in the middle.  The goal of the Collaborative Team is to move both parties through the transition and into their future with the least emotional and financial pain and to see their their client receives a fair share of the assets and has sufficient income to meet their needs.  Neither party wins in a divorce and both deserve a reasonable outcome.

    Risa A. Kleiner, Esq. can be contacted at 609.951.2222 or for further information on Collaborative Divorce.  More information is also available on and

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