Despite your best efforts, you and your partner have decided that divorce is the best option. However, you also intend to remain on good terms as you move on with your lives. Alternative dispute resolution may provide the framework you need to resolve potentially contentious issues without destroying your working relationship.

What Is Alternative Dispute Resolution? What’s the Goal?

The term ‘alternative dispute resolution’ refers to a variety of methods employed to avoid courtroom-based legal proceedings. In family law, ADR typically involves mediation or collaborative divorce. By employing mediation or collaboration, couples hope to keep their divorces as quick, affordable, and amicable as possible.

Although not a viable solution for all couples, ADR often allows divorcing spouses to avoid much of the stress and expense associated with a stereotypical courtroom divorce. Often, divorcing couples pursue ADR in hopes of maintaining amicable relationships as they move from romance to co-parenting. They hope to shield their children from the worst aspects of litigation, which can be incredibly stressful for the children of divorce.

Some spouses, although unable to resolve all issues through ADR, utilize this approach early in the divorce process to settle issues in which they share common ground. The remainder of the divorce can then be completed via litigation.

ADR Options

As mentioned above, two popular approaches to ADR in Minnesota are mediation and collaboration. In mediation, spouses work together (with guidance from a neutral third party) to secure mutually-beneficial outcomes to common divorce issues such as custody and property division. Mediation is, by definition, a non-adversarial approach.

Collaboration offers a valuable middle ground between litigation and mediation. In collaborative divorce, each spouse works closely with an attorney, but remains open to cooperation on many matters. Couples may be advised by a panel of experts, with extensive knowledge regarding financial matters and childcare concerns.

Although typically not employed for family issues, arbitration is also an ADR option in Minnesota. With arbitration, disputes are settled via third party professionals. A hybrid process known as mediation-arbitration allows for temporary mediation, with an arbitrator arriving at the final decision if an impasse between spouses occurs.

Interested in pursuing ADR in Minnesota? The right lawyer can successfully guide you through this challenging process. Seek counsel from the Brown Law Offices, P.A.

 

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Photo of Cynthia Brown Cynthia Brown

Cynthia Brown is a founding partner with the Brown Law Offices, P.A. She is an honors graduate of the University of South Dakota and William Mitchell College of Law. Cynthia was admitted to practice in 1998.

After graduating from law school, Cynthia served…

Cynthia Brown is a founding partner with the Brown Law Offices, P.A. She is an honors graduate of the University of South Dakota and William Mitchell College of Law. Cynthia was admitted to practice in 1998.

After graduating from law school, Cynthia served as the law clerk to the Honorable Timothy R. Bloomquist, retired Chief Judge of Minnesota’s Tenth Judicial District. Upon completing her clerkship, Cynthia practiced with a well-known firm in Cambridge, Minnesota. She founded the Brown Law Offices, P.A. in 2003.

Cynthia has handled a wide variety of family law matters throughout the Twin Cities, and greater Minnesota, including divorce, custody, child protective services, orders for protection and harassment restraining orders. Many of her clients have also asked her to provide guidance concerning their estate planning needs.

Early in her career, Cynthia served as a prosecutor, public defender and criminal investigator. In addition to her family practice, Cynthia routinely represents clients facing criminal charges such as DWI, assault, theft and criminal sexual misconduct.

Cynthia founded the Amigos de Guatemala Foundation in 2007. She is a former Board Member and President of the Foundation, which provided educational, health and financial resources to underprivileged Guatemalan citizens. Her interest in serving the impoverished began with a medical mission trip to Honduras in 1994.

When she is not practicing law, Cynthia enjoys scrap-booking, soap-making, ATV riding and spending time with family.


Areas of Practice
  • Divorce
  • Custody
  • Child Protective Services
  • Restraining Orders
  • Criminal Defense
  • Estate Planning
Bar Admission
  • Minnesota State Bar, 1998
Education
  • William Mitchell College of Law, 1998
  • University of South Dakota, 1995
Joined Firm
  • 2003
Professional Associations & Activities
  • Minnesota State Bar Association
  • Presenter, Various CLE Courses
  • Panel Attorney, Anoka County County Family Law Clinic
  • Monthly Columnist, Minnesota Lawyer Newspaper
  • Author, Family Law Forum
  • Author, Divorce Magazine