Press-Republican

Family

January 18, 2014

New nonprofit aids divorcing couples

ELIZABETHTOWN — Adirondack Alternative Divorce Solutions Inc., a newly formed nonprofit organization, offers collaborative-divorce and divorce-mediation services to North Country couples and families who are separating or divorcing. 

“The skilled and compassionate professionals at AADS provide families in conflict with a peaceful, dignified and respectful alternative to the traditional adversarial divorce process,” according to a news release from attorney Debra Whitson, who is president of Adirondack Alternative Divorce Solutions.

“The key difference between collaborative divorce and conventional divorce is the couples’ pledge to reach an agreement without going to court.

“The parties keep control of the decisions facing them rather than letting a judge make important decisions that impact them and their family.”  

The release said couples will have “the support of a team of skilled and compassionate professionals who help them manage all aspects of their divorce — the legal issues, the emotional turmoil, the concerns for the children and the financial and property questions.”

Each spouse has a specially trained attorney who advises the client on all matters of law, including child custody, financial support and property distribution.

A divorce coach is a trained mental-health professional who “helps the parties manage the pain and strain of changing relationships while focusing the parties on goals for the present and future rather than past hurts and disappointments,” the release said.

The team also includes a financial professional who reviews the family incomes and assets and assists the couples in analyzing financial options for their future.

If necessary, a child specialist may brought in.

“Collaborative divorce helps families avoid the emotional toll of a litigated divorce and allows the parties to craft an agreement that is uniquely tailored to meet their needs,” the release said.

“Because the process involves a pledge to treat each other with respect and teaches the couple better ways to communicate effectively, the parties can end their marriage and at the same time gain skills to more effectively co-parent and solve problems as they move forward.”

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