updated 24 Jul 2013, 17:00
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Thu, Jul 18, 2013
The Straits Times
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Benefits of family dispute resolution methods in divorce cases

Contseted court proceedings are slowly becoming the traditional method of resolving marital woes for couples ("Out-of-court legal scheme to ease pain of divorce"; last Thursday).

It is a well-known fact that these proceedings do not completely solve their marital problems even after the final divorce order is granted.

Family dispute resolution methods such as collaborative practice, mediation and arbitration are the new norms to resolve divorce, child custody, financial and property issues for divorcing couples.

Collaborative family practice made popular in the United States, and then in Canada, Britain and Australia, gives ownership of disputes to parties, and empowers them to understand each other's interests and find resolutions through negotiation-meetings.

Family lawyers drop their adversarial hats, adopt open and facilitative communication with their respective clients and one another to assist in the resolution process, and build new beginnings for the couple and their children in a safe environment.

There will be concerns and challenges that family lawyers will experience in their embrace of collaborative family practice.

What is important for collaborative lawyers is to undergo the quick paradigm shift and use collaborative practice to assist clients and the vulnerable children to build their post-divorce lives.

After all, this is the absolute reason why family lawyers do this work every day.

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