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David R. Hartwig, Esq.
Family Law & Divorce
Attorney & Counselor at Law
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Are There Alternatives To The Courtroom?

Litigation — filing a lawsuit and taking it to trial — is often a very expensive, time-consuming and emotionally taxing way to resolve a dispute or dissolve a family relationship. Sometimes it’s necessary. But often, there are better alternatives that can save much time, money and aggravation.

Avoiding Court If Possible

My philosophy is to counsel clients so as to avoid litigation. The simplest and most overlooked way to avoid costly litigation is to practice preventative lawyering. With organization, analytical thinking and creativity, I guide my clients in seeking current resolution of legal matters with a low risk of future litigation. By taking the time to identify potential problems, my clients can be more confident in their results.

What Is Mediation?

Mediation is an alternative to trial. Sometimes parties voluntarily seek mediation themselves to resolve a dispute, and sometimes it is required by the court after a lawsuit is filed. With the help of an impartial trained Mediator, the parties work through their differences and negotiate a final settlement. That agreement can be as enforceable as if the judge had ruled, but the process can be quicker and less expensive. It also allows the parties to have ownership of the outcome.

I am a trained mediator. I received my training through Utah Dispute Resolution of Salt Lake City, Utah. I also have completed the Divorce and Child Custody Mediation training program of the Administrative Office of the Courts, Court-Annexed ADR, Utah, in 1998. Note that if I am serving as a mediator for your dispute, I cannot also represent you as your attorney (the mediator’s job is to stay neutral).

What Is Collaborative Law?

Another, exciting alternative to litigation I offer is “collaborative law.” This process allows the parties in disputes to resolve the conflict themselves with the assistance of their lawyers. Unlike mediation or trial, there is usually no third party involved. The strategy is cooperative rather than adversarial, and most participants reach a successful agreement. The process may be less expensive, and there is no threat of litigation and fighting in court. The participants completely control the proceedings with the security and comfort of having their own counsel intimately involved. Collaborative law is new and proven to be successful, and may lead to a better result than litigation because the solution is “win-win.”

I am trained in collaborative law and am a founding member of Collaborative Family Lawyers of Utah. I am also a member of the American Institute of Collaborative Professionals.

To learn more about collaborative law, please visit the Collaborative Family Lawyers of Utah’s website.

Get Help Avoiding Court

For assistance with alternative dispute resolution, do not hesitate to contact me, David R. Hartwig, Esq. To discuss your options, you can reach me either online or at 801-833-0822. I assist both individuals and attorneys with ADR and dispute resolution in a more conciliatory fashion.

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.