Sometimes you hear terrible stories about divorce cases. Other times you hear the process went rather smoothly. Usually, the difference depends upon the mindset of the parties. The following are three routes that divorce cases typically follow.
Collaborative Divorce: Divorce is rarely a pleasant experience for clients. However, a lot can be done to reduce the pain and the cost if the parties can agree to cooperate. One way to do this is to agree to what we call a “collaborative divorce”. Our office provides this service, which means that we do not represent either party. Rather, we assist them is resolving their differences and getting them through the court process as smoothly as possible.
Collaborative divorce works well when the parties are not seeking to fight with each other about every aspect of their divorce. If their mindset is one of fairness and creating the best communication going forward, then this is a great option. Additionally, it can often be accomplished for a total of a few thousand dollars, rather than potentially spending tens of thousands each in a contested divorce.
Settlement: Sometimes collaborative divorce is not an option because one or both parties feels strongly they want their own attorney to represent them. Even in that situation there can still be a relatively simple and cost-effective outcome. This is achieved by the parties negotiating a settlement with regard to division of assets and debts; parenting time with children; and spousal maintenance. A consent decree is then signed by the parties and filed with the court. This process has a wide range of potential costs due to each party being represented by counsel and various issues that may arise.
Trial: Unfortunately, some cases are not resolved by agreement of the parties and that means the judge must decide at trial. If a divorce case gets to this stage it usually means it has been going for nearly a year or more, the parties have significant disputes, and significant legal fees have been incurred. Even though we know that most cases settle before actually getting to trial, it is not unusual for them to settle the day before or even as the trial begins. These cases are the most painful because the parties have been dealing with the upheaval and emotional issues for a long time.
As stated earlier, the parties to a divorce can help themselves tremendously by focusing on the long-term and adopting a mature outlook. This will help reduce the fighting, help children cope with the situation, and reduce legal fees.
If you have any questions on the above or any other legal matter, please contact us.