4 PATHS TO DIVORCE
Contested Divorce Judge Decides: $$$$$. A judge decides EVERYTHING. The parties both hire lawyers, it can take a year or more. A judge makes all the decisions for you. The judge decides where your kids will go to school, when and how you will see them, when you can go on a vacation, where you can and cannot take your kids, how often and at what time you are allowed to call you children, how extracurricular activities (little league, ballet, etc.) will be determined and who will transport them to and from those activities, when and where you will exchange the children for time sharing, who keeps the marital home, who gets which car, furniture, televisions, etc. If you don’t follow the judge’s order you can be found in contempt of court. Ten or more years later that judge is long since retired and on the golf course somewhere, meanwhile you’re still having to follow his/her order.
Contested Divorce Settles Before Trial $$$$. Only five percent of divorces end up in front of a judge for a trial as described above. The majority of attorney driven divorces end up in a marathon mediation after the money has been spent on hearings, depositions, and discovery. This is still not the best way and is expensive.
Collaborative Divorce: $$$$. The parties agree to settle the case by using their own lawyers, an agreed upon accountant, facilitator, and child expert. Although the case may settle out of court all of these professionals charge high hourly rates and it becomes quite expensive. If you do not resolve your case during the Collaborative process, you will have to start all over again with traditional attorneys. That means a new attorney and a new retainer.
A Friendly Divorce: $. The parties hire one mediator. The mediator helps them come to an agreement, drafts the settlement document and drafts and files all of the required documents with the court. One party attends an uncontested final hearing and the case is over. The mediator cannot give legal advice to either party, even if the mediator is also an attorney. Either party can consult with an attorney, individually, to review the settlement agreement before signing.
THE BETTER WAY
I have been a practicing family law attorney for over 21 years. After 21 years of representing one side only in contested divorces I knew there had to be a better way. I have come to believe that for many couples A Friendly Divorce can provide that way. And, if it doesn’t work you can always hire an attorney at a later time. At the very least you will have gained valuable insight and knowledge of the process which still may save you time and money. Please call me or email me to discuss your options and learn how I can help you.