Our Philosophy – The Advantages of Avoiding Court in Resolving Divorce and Family Law Matters

Marriages and long-term relationships can end. Children can face the prospect of parents living in two households. Assets may have to be analyzed, valued, and equitably divided. Businesses or professional practices may need protection from threats to their continuity or success. Monetary support for children or spouses may have to be set. Individuals joining into a marital or other partnership may want to define financial rights and obligations before their union is formalized. Someone may breach a contract, or fail to abide by a court order. Protection may be needed from harassment, stalking, or violence.

We can help when these life events occur. Our philosophy is simple—we want our clients to understand options, define reasonable goals, and achieve, as closely as possible, their reasonable goals.

We believe that family law issues are best resolved in the least adversarial process that is appropriate. That’s why we explore with our clients negotiation, mediation, alternative dispute resolution, collaborative law, and arbitration, where appropriate. Sometimes litigation is necessary. But we try to help our clients avoid court when possible.

Why Try to Avoid Court? There are Lots of Reasons. Here are Some of Them.

  • First, court is usually the most expensive way to resolve family law issues. And every dollar spent on attorneys is one less dollar to allocate between spouses, or to use for children.
  • Second, studies show that children are harmed by high levels of conflict between parents. And conflict doesn’t get much higher than it does in contested litigation.
  • Third, a judge has very limited time for any one case. Nevertheless, that judge may have to make life-changing decisions that can affect individuals, their businesses, and their children for years. Why entrust such critical issues to a stranger who has such a finite opportunity to learn about a family?

Experience as an Alternative Dispute Resolution Attorney

The DC Superior Court has appointed Ms. Dornbrand as the alternative dispute resolution attorney for various family law cases. Other attorneys have jointly hired her to perform this role in their cases or to arbitrate their cases. She has settled by negotiation hundreds of cases. She is an active Collaborative Law practitioner.

Ms. Dornbrand has also litigated family law cases for decades. She has taught classes in how to litigate cases. But she believes that helping clients reach resolution of family law issues using the least adversarial process that is appropriate and consistent with their reasonable goals, is the best service Dornbrand Law can provide.


This is not legal advice. Please read our "disclaimer" to understand why this information is not a substitute for legal advice.