If you need additional information about any of the listings in this glossary, contact Anna-Maria Pittella.
Advance Medical Directive – (also known as a “Living Will” – see below)
Collaborative Divorce – Every divorce is traumatic for spouses and children and can also be very costly. By engaging in a “collaborative divorce,” you will focus on creating a settlement that works for all parties. Every step of the process is a step to conclusion. Your time and your money are spent resolving your differences with professionals who are committed to the collaborative process. You are assured that your attorney and the attorney for your spouse do not have any other agenda except to negotiate an agreement. Each attorney promises not be involved in litigation against the other party. You will work through your differences without threats and unnecessary court appearances, on a schedule that you set based on a commitment to act in good faith. You leave the process with a complete agreement on all issues that you and your spouse have crafted â€“ your good map for the future. You leave the process with respect for yourself and your spouse and preserve the relationship you will need as you continue to parent together. For more information about collaborative divorce, contact Anna-Maria Pittella now.
Collaborative Law – In October of 2004, the Jersey Shore Collaborative Law Group (JSCLG)
requested a state advisory ethics opinion to confirm that, neither participation in a group including attorneys, financial professionals, and mental health professionals, nor the practice of collaborative law itself violates New Jersey attorney ethics rules. In response, the Advisory Committee on Attorney Ethics published Advisory Opinion No. 699 in December of 2005. “Opinion 699” confirms that a group of professionals from various disciplines may work together to promote and educate the public about collaborative law. Providing information about, and advocacy of, the collaborative law process does not constitute engaging in the practice of law. Also, since clients engage each professional independently and no fees are shared, the group is not considered a “law firm.”
“Opinion 699” also concludes that the practice of “collaborative law” does not violate ethical rules. Collaborative law’s requirement that both attorneys withdraw if negotiations fail represents a permissible limitation on the scope of representation offered to the client. This limitation in scope is reasonable if the attorney does not believe at the outset the collaborative law will fail. To determine whether there is a “significant possibility that an impasse will result or the collaborative process will fail” the attorney must rely on her knowledge and experience and be fully informed about the relationship between the parties. In addition, the attorney must obtain the client’s informed consent to participate in the collaborative process. To obtain informed consent, the attorney must disclose to the client the risks and consequences if the collaborative process fails and both attorneys must withdraw, and compare these with alternative processes for resolution of the dispute.
Litigation – Litigation, in basic terms, is a legal contest that is carried out through the judicial process, involving time in court. Divorce litigation is more costly than divorce mediation or collaborative divorce. Click here to learn about alternatives to litigation: Divorce Mediation or see “Collaborative Divorce” above.
Living Will – (more formally known as an “Advance Medical Directive”) lets the medical community know your wishes regarding life support and other health care decisions should you become incapacitated. It appoints someone to see that your instructions are carried out. Click here to learn more about Living Wills.
Mediation – Mediation uses a facilitator instead of a judge. It is a process that allows both parties to reach a settlement without litigation – at usually a fraction of the cost. Click here to learn more about Divorce Mediation. Or click here to learn more about Small Business Dispute Mediation
Power of Attorney – Power of Attorney is a legal document that allows someone to appoint another person to act on their behalf if they become mentally or physically incapable of handling their own affairs. Click here to learn more about Power of Attorney.
Will – Anyone over the age of 18, especially if you have assets. If you die without a will, your assets will be distributed according to the laws of the state in which you were a resident. If you have children under the age of 18, it is important to appoint a guardian to take care of them should you pre-decease them while they are still minors. Click here to learn more about Wills.