News Release


Release: Contact:

Christine Morganti
(505) 797-6028

Seminar Advocates the Collaborative Process to Resolve Family Law Issues

Albuquerque, N.M.—Divorce and other family law disputes are emotionally difficult by nature. A confrontational family law matter can inflict severe, long-lasting wounds on spouses and children.

Though many divorce attorneys attempt to minimize the harmful effects of a dissolved relationship, traditional court divorce often involves a legal fight in court. Therefore, it becomes the attorney's job to use the available legal tools and negotiation strategies. All too often, these tools become weapons in a painful divorce process.

In addition to emotional and psychological costs, traditional court divorce cases are usually expensive, especially those that result in trial or a contested hearing.

Approximately 98 percent of all court divorce cases settle, meaning the court does not decide the outcome because the parties have already reached an agreement. But settlements usually come only after months of costly conflict, the hiring of polarized experts and the expense of preparing for a trial that is unlikely to occur. These settlement agreements are often reached just before the scheduled trial date and under time constraints, leaving clients dissatisfied with the results and more likely to go back to court.

According to its advocates, the collaborative law process offers a better way to resolve family law issues.

The New Mexico Collaborative Practice Group (NMCPG), in conjunction with the New Mexico Bar Foundation Center for Legal Education, will present the 2011 New Mexico Collaborative Law Symposium April 29–30 at the State Bar Center in Albuquerque.

The seminar will focus on preparing a collaborative practice, establishing a collaborative case, and the roles of the various participants in the process. In the advanced track of the program, featured speaker Victoria Smith will go further in defining and building on the conflict resolution process. Smith is at the forefront of collaborative practice in Canada and is a teacher, writer and presenter on negotiation and conflict resolution advocacy.

Speakers also include Jan Gilman-Tepper, Esq., Little Gilman-Tepper & Batley PA; Maria Montoya Chavez, Esq., Sutin Thayer & Browne PC; Ken Gilman; Pamela Schackel; Ingrid Roosild; and Gretchen Walther, Esq., Walther Family Law.

NMCPG, composed of individual practitioners, is a nonprofit association of lawyers, financial professionals and mental health professionals formed in 2001 to promote the collaborative process to resolve family law issues.

Visit to register to view the full schedule.

The State Bar of New Mexico was organized in 1886 and is composed of more than 8500 members. Its purposes are to aid the courts in administering justice and preserving the rule of law, and to foster a high standard of integrity and competence within the legal profession.