Saturday, January 29, 2011

Collaborative Divorce

A collaborative divorce is a divorce where you and your spouse hire your attorneys to settle your case prior to suing each other for a divorce. If you attorneys do not settle your case, we cannot represent you in your divorce. The intent is for the attorneys to work together, not against each other. This process also involves a mental health and financial neutral, who work with you and your spouse. The mental health professional is to help with communication and maintaining respect (and help your discussions regarding the best interest of your child) and the financial expert works to identify and value assets and debts, and determine actual income. If the process works, you have maintained respect for each other as the process is to emphasis a fair resolution as determined by you and your spouse, not a resolution as mandated by the Judge or laws passed by the legislature. If the process does not work, you have spent a lot of money, and you basically start over. Respect and your resolution is the goal and that is the best possible goal in any dissolution of a marital relationship. Why intentionally fight and have a stranger (the Judge) determine your outcome. You must be mature, intelligent and capable of listening and respect to participate in a collaborative divorce, and you must find two (2) attorneys you know what they are doing and who know their role in a collaborative process. Many attorneys do not understand this type of divorce process and I have noticed they are afraid to try it, afraid to give up the control, afraid to get along versus engaging in a "fight." Ask your attorney about this process and if they are unable to answer your questions, you may not have the right attorney.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

A Dollar and Principle

At what cost should you resolve your case? When does the dollar amount conflict with your principles and emotional toll? It is a very difficult decision on whether or not to litigate your case or accept an offer that from your perspective is too low (however it is probably not low from the perspective of your spouse). Is an additional $100,000.00 over a projected 15 year span worth the emotional strain and time it takes to litigate your case, and the additional time if appeal, considering that all Judges are human and they make mistakes. That means even if everything you present at your trial goes just how you and your attorney planned, you may not get the result you want (or you may get a great result). The question you must be prepared to answer is when your case is not resolved because of disagreement of the amount of money, what is the Dollar amount that it becomes worth it to litigate. To answer that question, you must add in your life principles and the cost of the emotional toll of litigation, as there is nothing fun or entertaining when it comes to being in a courtroom where your life and marriage is put under a microscope, as I can assure you there is no perfect person and unfortunately a lot of divorce issues focus on the negative aspects of you, not the positive. Now, this decision is easy if the issue is one involving your child, as your gut will always answer that question for you and you do know at all times what is in the best interest of your child. Life is short and long at the same time, so do not be afraid to trade a dollar or two for your emotional well being and overall life principles.