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Collaborative Law

A Different Way To Divorce
Collaborative Law Attorney Michelle Sommer supports you through a resolution process without going to Divorce Court in Carlisle, York and Chambersburg.

What is Collaborative Family Law?


In Collaborative law, the attorneys for both parties to a family law dispute assist the parties in resolving issues in a positive environment, using a cooperative approach.  It is an alternative dispute resolution process which allows the parties to avoid going to court, while still receiving the support and expertise of their own family law attorneys.


You can’t change the fact that people divorce.  You can change the way they divorce.

Collaborative Law:

  • Creative Approach
  • Reduces Conflict
  • Protects Children
  • Avoids Court
  • Can Be Less Expensive

Which family issues can be resolved with Collaborative Law?

  • Separation and Divorce
  • Child Custody and Parenting Issues
  • Support and Alimony
  • Division of Assets and Debts
  • Non-Marital Relationship Break-up
  • Modification of Existing Orders

Why Collaborative Law?

Clients are in charge

The process is empowering, informative, and less stressful than court.  The parties control the proceedings.  Your destiny and that of your family is not in the hands of a third party (the court).

Collaborative Lawyers

Both parties have skilled family lawyers trained in and committed to the collaborative process of settling issues without resorting to the courts.

Cooperative Approach

You are each supported and represented by your own lawyer and yet you can cooperate confidently with the other party and his or her lawyer in resolving your issues.

Client Participation

You are a vital part of the settlement team (consisting of both parties and both attorneys).

Avoid Court

Everyone can focus on a settlement without the constant threat of “going to court.”

Can Be Less Costly

This process is generally less time-consuming and less costly than court proceedings and trial.

It Works

The collaborative law process works if problem solving is more important than fighting and you want solutions that are fair to both of you.

How Does Collaborative Law Work?


  • Informal conferences where the future well-being of you and your family is the number one goal.
  • Complete, honest exchange of information in an informal setting.
  • Creative problem-solving techniques to assist you in producing an agreement tailored to the needs of you and your family.
  • The other party and his or her attorney are treated as part of a settlement team, not as adversaries.
  • Both attorneys are concerned about the process, as well as the outcome.
  • Your collaborative lawyers are committed to finding constructive ways to achieve a settlement that will work best in your case.  Their basic philosophy is to focus on a settlement rather than preparation for a trial.
  • The lawyers have a strong incentive to succeed. They must settle your case or withdraw.
  • In the event the parties are unable to reach a settlement through the collaborative process, the collaborative lawyers withdraw from the case and the parties are free to hire trial attorneys to pursue the matter in court.

Start Your Collaborative Law Process Now?


  • Talk with the other party about Collaborative Family Law and share this brochure.
  • Each of you choose a collaborative lawyer.
  • Meet with your own collaborative lawyer to discuss the details of the collaborative law process in your situation.


Collaborative Law: A Different Way To Divorce

Do you need help with Collaborative Law?

Schedule a Consultation

    Sommer & O'Donnell - Attorneys at Law

    Call 717-422-5209 or message us below to schedule a consultation.