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David R. Hartwig, Esq.
Family Law & Divorce Attorney & Counselor at Law Veteran Military Discount

Alternatives To The Courtroom

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR): ADR is a general term for resolving conflict, even in a lawsuit. Utah looks at ADR to supplement, not completely replace, litigation.


In mediation, both parties agree to work with a neutral party, the mediator, to come to a mutually agreeable resolution. Mediations provides:

  • A neutral space to discuss challenges and influence outcomes
  • Trained mediators who are attorneys, trained in mediation, collaborative divorce, or other methods of dispute resolution
  • Some control, as you can influence the outcome of your settlement, rather than let a judge determine the outcome
  • A better opportunity for parents to work around the best interest of a child

  • Cost-effective resolutions

Collaborative Method

Collaborative method allows each party to have a specially trained attorney, mental health professional or other specialist work on behalf of each party using cooperative strategies to reach agreement in resolving their issues. I am trained in collaborative divorce.


Arbitration is something between a trial and a mediation in which an arbitrator hears testimony, reviews evidence and makes a decision. The process is faster than a trial.

Changing Family Law Orders Prior To Court

In post-divorce disputes, including custody and parent-time orders, the orders specify that you need to attempt mediation before filing for changes.

  • Custody orders: Before petitioning to modify any child custody order, you and your ex-spouse can work to resolve the issues, if such is possible. In any event, once a petition is filed the court will require you to attempt mediation. If you have already attempted mediation, the court may accept that attempt.
  • Child support: Whether you are seeking help in enforcement or circumstances have changed enough to modify an old agreement, I can help you to negotiate a viable child support agreement based on your current financial situations. If the mediation fails, then you have the option to go to court and seek orders changing support.
  • Alimony or spousal support: As time goes on, your and your former spouse's financial situations may change, warranting an adjustment in alimony. As in child support, your divorce order may require you to attempt mediation prior to filing any court action. If so, then we can see if a settlement can be reached; and if not, then we are ready to take the case to court.

Sometimes the changes that have occurred require an immediate filing of a petition to modify an order to preserve your rights. You need to check with an attorney experienced in modifying orders before agreeing to an ADR before filing a petition.

Is Mediation Really An Option?

Divorce mediation may be a suitable option for you. I have experience handling divorce mediations and alternative dispute resolutions so I understand how the process works and can guide you through your specific case.

Exploring your options and understanding how these options will impact your future are a vital part of the process. I provide personal and honest advice when it comes to your situation, so you can make an informed and educated decision.

Contact Me To Discuss Your Situation

I will answer your questions and discuss your options during all stages of the divorce process. Call me at 801-833-0822 or send me an email to schedule an appointment.

I am David R. Hartwig, Esq., a Salt Lake City attorney with extensive experience helping parents resolve simple or high-conflict custody issues reaching arrangements that work for children and parents. Child custody involves parent-time and visitation schedules, and can affect support. I help in all of these areas, providing comprehensive service clients need to achieve their custody goals.

Factors In Child Custody Decisions

As an experienced Utah child custody lawyer, I understand that custody cases may become a contentious issue even years after an order is finalized. The trend in Utah toward joint custody often creates messy, unworkable situations, which ultimately lead to enforcement issues when parents do not abide by their custody orders.

The best interests of the child must be considered, including:

• Whether joint legal or physical custody will benefit the child's physical, psychological and emotional needs, or the child's development

• The parents' ability to give first priority to the child's welfare, and reach shared decisions in the child's best interest

• Whether each parent is capable of encouraging and accepting a positive relationship between the child and the other parent

• Whether both parents participated in raising the child before the divorce

• The distance between the parents' homes

• The parents' maturity and their willingness and ability to protect the child from conflict that may arise between the parents

• The parents' ability to cooperate with each other and make decisions jointly

• Any history of, or potential for, child abuse, spouse abuse, or kidnapping

• Any other factors the court finds relevant

Despite the complicated and sensitive nature of custody matters, I have helped many clients successfully establish custody orders.

Get Help With Your Child Custody Issue

If you have a child custody issue, please contact me, David R. Hartwig, Esq. I am an experienced Salt Lake City custody lawyer dedicated to helping clients resolve complex custody issues and implement necessary custody orders. For high-conflict cases, I am also one of the few Utah child custody modification attorneys trained as a Special Master for ongoing dispute resolution.

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