Thursday, May 29, 2014

Collaborative Law Getting More and More National Recognition

            CNBC recently featured an article on collaborative law being applied in divorce cases. As the author, Deborah Nason, states, “Divorce will never be a walk in the park, but it doesn't have to be a traumatic process, either.”  She addresses the major problems that can be created by litigating a divorce to conclusion in Court.  For a lot of people, the cost of a divorce is a major factor. According to the article, litigating a divorce can cost as much as three times or more than a collaborative divorce.

            As we have discussed in this blog before, Collaborative Divorce is a process that involves each party having their own lawyer. The agreement includes a clause in each party’s contract with the lawyer that if the collaborative process breaks down, the parties must find different lawyers to litigate their issues. By keeping the divorce out of litigation, it allows the parties to craft their own agreements through various meetings with the attorneys and other collaborative professionals like mental health counselors and financial specialists.

            Yet, the effect of choosing collaborative law over litigation can save the parties much more than money. As Gary Direnfield, (MSW RSW) writes, “Collaborative Family Law has long been presented as a kinder more gentle way of facilitating the dissolution of intimate relationships where the parties’ finances, assets and other relationships are intertwined and in particular when parent-child relationships will survive the dissolution of the intimate partnership.” Mr. Direnfield is a social worker, and his article speaks to attorneys who litigate for a living. He talks about the nature of collaborative law, and how the parties generally recover better from a collaborative process versus litigation. Often, litigation can result in a sort of “scorched earth” process that leaves both divorce parties in a difficult situation. Collaborative law can avoid this, and allow the parties to work out a deal outside of Court where the pressure and stress is much greater.

            Collaborative divorce is a great option, but is not always the solution. At Parnell, Michels and McKay, we offer the collaborative option to all our clients, and will litigate when necessary. Should you find yourself in a difficult situation and a pending divorce, contact us today to explore the collaborative option. 

Thursday, May 1, 2014


                HB1360 (House Bill 1360) has made its way through the New Hampshire House of Representatives and the New Hampshire State Senate. The bill is set to prohibit the use of electronic devises while operating a motor vehicle. You can read the proposed text of the statute here. The bill is set to be signed by Governor Hassan in the near future.

                The basis of the bill stems from the many accidents that are caused by cell phone use while driving. Most commonly, this happens when a person is texting, surfing the web, or posting to social media sites like Facebook when they should be concentrating on the road. This bill goes beyond just texting while driving, and seeks to limit any use of a handheld electronic device. This includes not only cell phones, but tablets and GPS devices as well.

                The bill would ban the use of a cell phone in any context. This would mean you can no longer talk on the phone, text, surf the internet, or even use your cell phone for GPS purposes. In fact, this bill would make it illegal to even text someone while you are stopped at a red light. The only exception is if the driver pulls off the road completely, and then they can use their cell phone or GPS device.

                The bill would also ban the use of GPS devices while driving. The basis for that is the belief that typing in addresses or locations in a GPS device while driving is just as dangerous as texting while driving. The goal for the New Hampshire congress is to prevent any type of accident that will occur as a result of driver inattention. And while texting while driving is already against the law in most states, banning the use of a cell phone in any way while driving is going to cause a major change in the way law enforcement handles the use of cell phones while driving. Many granite state residents will be faced with being pulled over for cell phone use, and it is important for all residents to understand the potential new law.  

                It is always important for any citizen to be aware of the rights and laws that affect them on a day to day basis. If you find yourself with questions about the law, even new laws like HB1360, contact the experienced attorneys at Parnell & McKay. If you disagree with the proposed new law, it is always important to be active and vocal in your community. Speak out to your fellow representatives, senators and governor to tell them how you feel about HB1360.