One Carriage Lane, Building D


Telephone: (843) 769-0311

Facsimile:  (843) 769-7079

family law  *   collaborative law  *   mediation  *   cooperative law

What Is Cooperative Law?

Our partners are trained in Collaborative Law. However, we have found that the requirement in Collaborative Law that we terminate our representation if the case does not resolve and goes toward litigation is burdensome and unworkable.

First, we believe this requirement is burdensome to our clients, since they must then pay for a new lawyer to review the entire file and proceed to trial. If our client has bonded with us, he or she will not want to go out and search for another compatible lawyer.

Secondly, we believe this requirement is unworkable for us, since we consider ourselves first and foremost to be litigators. This does not mean we push cases to litigation, but rather that we view our cases through the lens of what a Court might or might not do on a given issue in the case. We believe that the expectation that the case may eventually go before one of our Family Court judges provides a settlement framework. For example, it is impossible to determine how much alimony or what kind of visitation might be appropriate in a given case without considering what a judge might or might not order at trial.

However, we believe that the other components of Collaborative Law are incredibly useful, and have incorporated many of them into our overall practice. When we take a case on as a Cooperative Law case, our immediate goal is resolution. We immediately set up meetings first with the attorneys, and then with the attorneys and clients. We also retain joint financial and custody experts when necessary. We take all of these steps before we begin formal discovery, since formal discovery can be expensive. If these efforts to not resolve the case, we then proceed toward formal discovery, including written Interrogatories and Requests for Production a well as Depositions, and ultimately toward litigation.

Cooperative Law Questions & Answers

How do I know my case should be handled cooperatively?

You cannot know this with any certainty until you meet with us. Because we try to avoid formal discovery when we do Cooperative Law, we believe that one of the first requirements is that both parties have full knowledge of their overall financial situation, including assets, debts and incomes. There must be some degree of trust between the parties to reduce the fear that one or the other is hiding assets or income. There also should not be a glaring power imbalance between the parties. This means that there are no allegations of domestic or emotional abuse or complete over-control by one of the parties.


Recent News

Natalie Parker Bluestein is 2014 President of the Charleston County Bar Association

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Protecting the Nest by John Carroll Doyle

Family Law

We are a Family Law firm, meaning we help clients with divorces, custody disputes, support matters, and other cases in Family Court. Our cases are mostly in Charleston, Dorchester and Berkeley Counties, but we also have cases in Beaufort, Colleton, Hampton and other counties.

Collaborative Law

Both Natalie Parker Bluestein and Jane Nussbaum Douglas are certified to practice Collaborative Law. If you and your estranged spouse have talked about trying to handle your case amicably, Collaborative Law may be what you are looking for. We maintain a list of other attorneys in the area who are certified in Collaborative Law for you to give to your spouse after you have met with us, so that the case can proceed collaboratively. You can find out more about collaborative law by clicking here.


Natalie Parker Bluestein is a Certified Family Court Mediator. She mediates cases for unrepresented litigants and for litigants who are represented by other counsel. Most of the contested cases we have go to mediation with a certified Family Court Mediator. You can find out more about mediation by clicking here.

Contact Us

You will find a link here to information about contacting us to schedule an Initial Consultation. If you wish to retain one of our attorneys, you will first need to schedule an Initial Consultation.