Soren Campbell, Janet Amburgey, and Patrick McCroskey at their offices in downtown Asheville.


All too often, the client has the attitude that a lawyer who is a “fighter” is a lawyer who refuses to cooperate with opposing counsel, makes demands and gets instant results, goes to court at the drop of a hat, and plays Perry Mason in court. This notion is sadly misguided.

Cooperation and camaraderie among experienced family law attorneys are common. This manner of conducting the day to day affairs of a divorce matter is modernly termed the cooperative law model. Its effectiveness has been researched and described in many papers and articles. A professional lawyer adhering to the principalities of cooperative law has the following attributes:

  • conducts oneself in a civil, respectful and professional manner at all times
  • responds promptly to reasonable requests for information from the other party
  • fully discloses all relevant financial and other required information
  • obtains collaborative expert input as necessary shares the findings freely
  • negotiates in good faith
  • utilizes best practices for the benefit of his client

Often the term “cooperative divorce” is confused by “collaborative divorce”. While their intentions are similar,  they are not the same. Collaborative divorce refers to a formal process of dispute resolution used by parties to resolve the issues of their divorce without the court being involved. In a collaborative divorce parties enter into a formal agreement, a “participation agreement”  in writing,  to guide them in their use of the process to resolve issues without filing a court action. Then only after all avenues of resolution have been explored can a lawsuit be filed with the court, however, the parties must bring a lawsuit with new attorneys who were not involved in the collaborative divorce process. In a cooperative divorce, it is not required that parties sign an agreement, nor it is mandatory to start the process over with a new attorney in the event that settlement negotiations don’t succeed.  The goals of both a collaborative divorce and cooperative divorce remain the same. To reach a settlement of all issues to the satisfaction of the client in a timely and economical fashion. 

Professional, experienced family law attorneys have utilized these long-held principalities of professional consideration, politeness and high-standards well before the term Cooperative Law existed. The family law team at GHMA | LAW honors these principals. These principals provide a direct avenue for efficient work and effective representation during the dissolution of a marriage. In every case, cooperation decreases costs and promotes lasting resolutions for your family.

In the rare circumstance where cooperation and professionalism do not promote lasting agreements, Patrick McCroskey and Janet Amburgey, are first and foremost, trial attorneys. The time to fight may be during tough negotiations or in court, but not cooperating on routine matters accomplishes only greatly increased attorney fees because it requires both attorneys to do everything the hard way. Cooperation by the attorneys, as well as the parties, particularly during the discovery phase, is always in the best interest of the client. If you are interested in the cooperative divorce process call us, we can discuss the benefits of professional, cooperative approaches in family law matters during your initial consultation.

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Common Questions & Concerns

We will do everything possible to structure your case so that you may obtain the best legal result. Punishing your spouse or winning an all-out, no holds-barred victory, however, is an unrealistic and unattainable goal. Your attorney's job is to represent your best interests, and to achieve the best resolution for you. His job is not to serve as your avenger. He cannot give you retribution for the sins of your spouse. If you enter this process expecting revenge and retribution, you will be sorely disappointed and unhappy with your attorney, yourself, and the outcome of your case, no matter how favorable that outcome may be to you. Before beginning the attorney-client relationship, you should make every effort to put your priorities in order, and realize that there are some things the legal system cannot provide.

Most people share the same fears, questions, and beliefs about divorce. The following are some of the most common of these fears, questions and beliefs.

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