Divorce is a time of great transitions, losses and potentially, growth. Divorce is one of the hardest things you might go through in your lifetime and while you are in the midst of this “hardest time in your life” you might lose sight of one very important thing.
You want to stay out of court. You do.
Yes, you really do.
Yes, I understand that you’re mad/hurt/betrayed/protecting yourself. But you still really, really want to stay put of court.
Court is not a place for families. It is a place for lawyers. It is a place for individuals who have been trained and socially encouraged to make up a paycheck by manipulaing a body of rules and formulas that have nothing to do with you and your family. Court is a place where strangers throw phrases around such as, “in the best interest of the children” to justify bankrupting your children’s parents (yes, that’s you) and all in the name of the law.
If that sounds harsh, it’s because it is. Court is the worst thing that could happen to a healthy family.
Is there a time and place where court and litigation is necessary? Absolutely. I will write more about that in a future post. For now, know that the great majority of divorce cases can and should be settled out of court, mediated, or refer to collaborative divorce.
I get it, you are mad. And yes, your ex is a so and so. And yes, the children would be better off at this school or that school or ??? And no, you can’t agree on a custody plan, and how will you live with no support? Or paying support? And what happens to the house/retirement/family business?
We can figure this out. Mediation works.
Don’t give up on collaborative divorce or mediation. Almost every single divorce mediation client I’ve had starts their first contact with me by telling me that they don’t think their case it is appropriate for mediation. With few exceptions these families have all been able to resolve their divorce, custody, and financial issues through mediation.
When you are in the middle of a divorce there is perhaps a lot of distrust, lack of confidence in your soon-to-be ex, and plenty of hurt and disappointment to go around. These are not times that you should be making huge financial decisions such as dropping thousands of dollars into litigation (and your lawyer’s pocketbook).
What I tell potential clients is that once litigation begins it is very difficult to get out of it. On the other hand, it only takes one person decide to stop mediation for mediation to end. Also if mediation fails you still have the option of litigation. Whereas once you’re in court it’s really hard to turn the hands of time backwards and move into mediation.
Even if you and your soon-to-be ex can find resolve on a few issues, it will have been worth it, both financially and definitely emotionally.