An Alternative To Court

The greatest source of stress and expense in divorce cases often concerns emotionally-charged conflicts involving minor children.

In cases with complex parenting issues, former Judge Cleaves is available in association with a licensed clinical social worker experienced in counseling children of divorce. Together they will use methods of alternative dispute resolution to evaluate and determine what plan of parental rights and responsibilites best serves the interests of the children.

This process helps to lower the level of conflict between the parties, and create a healthier family environment both during and following the divorce process.

Individual Consultation

Consultation is available to any individual–at any stage–who may feel distressed by the direction, trauma, mounting financial and emotional cost, or other aspects of the divorce process.

In addition to individual advice, former Judge Cleaves may invite the other party (and his or her legal counsel) to join in an effort to regain control of the process and reach a resolution of all issues.

Represented parties who have completed the process of information-gathering may retain the services of former Judge Cleaves to assist in achieving a negotiated agreement

Upon summary presentation of the relevent information and/or settlement proposals, the data will be evaluated and and advisory opinion will be expressed based upon Judge Cleaves’ substantial experience in adjudicating such cases.

Alternative Divorce Resolution

Former Judge Cleaves also seeks to reduce divorce conflict by offering services to represented parties as a “private judge.”

By agreement of the parties and their counsel, Judge Cleaves wil hear and decide issues of all types presented by the divorce process. Interim decisions will be based upon summary presentations made by attorneys and their clients.

If agreement on final issues cannot be accomplished, Judge Cleaves would accept appointment as a referee under Rule 53 of the Maine Rules of Civil Pr oc edur e t o make ultimate determinations.

This alternative to court provides quicker access, more flexibility in the mode of presentation of issues, and the assurance that crucial decisions will be made by a jurist with extensive experience in the adjudication of family law proceedings.