Well yes there is such a thing as a Collaborative Divorce. This is a divorce that is supposed to be a divorce without a lot of acrimony and more mediated type of case. These are becoming very popular in some parts of the country. Even if you do not want a divorce there will still be one eventually. It will take longer, cost more and you will not get any say as to what you want. I suggest that you need to go seek counseling regarding the fact that your spouse is divorcing you. You will need to come to terms with this so that you can adequately be a participant in the process. MOST IMPORTANTLY YOU MUST SEEK A DIVORCE ATTORNEY FOR YOURSELF. Burying your head in the sand as if nothing is going on will be the worst thing that you could possibly do. Talk to some friends for moral support and see if you can find one that will help be by your side during it all. Good luck.
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I totally agree with Peggy; she gave you great advice. I will just add a couple of comments to your questions.
Your Question: "I don't really want a divorce so I did nothing. What is likely to happen next?"
In this modern age of high divorce rates, there isn't much you can do if your Husband already filed papers. After divorce papers are handed to you, you have a very short deadline in which you must respond. If you don't, the court MAY give him whatever he asks for. So, as Peggy said, GET A LAWYER.
If he has not yet filed papers, ask him nicely- " What would it take to keep our marriage together?" If he starts to talk, just LISTEN. when he's done and you really really listened (even if it hurt bad to hear) Ask him if he would go w/ you to couples counseling so you could get help from a couple's counselor understanding better what his needs are. You may also need your own therapist. If not a couples counselor perhaps a clergy.
Your comment: "he paid a retainer for a "collaborative lawyer." he said she could also mediate or litigate".
You may benefit from a quick overview of these 3 processes and how they are different.
Mediation in family law is geared on facilitating agreement between people as to how they will divide up their lives in a way that they can each live as individuals again instead of one married unit. When people start the process of divorce by going to a mediator, it is presumed they are doing so because they don't' want to a Judge make life decisions for them. This is one of the hallmarks of mediation; that is YOU have the power to choose your own destiny; not a Judge. Also, its much less expensive; when 2 lawyers go in front of one Judge, each time a lawyer appears it can cost thousands of dollars for each of you. The more you fight, the more the lawyers work. the more the lawyers work, the more money you and your husband lose to lawyers. So, mediation from the very beginning is probably the cheapest and the emotionally healthiest way to go.
mediators vary- some mediators will not "mediate" the divorce unless EACH of you has your own lawyer. some mediators will mediate even if each of you do NOT have your own lawyer. If the mediator would do so, you must ask them before signing up for mediation- who will do your divorce paperwork to file with the court? some mediators do the paperwork, some will not.
Litigation is when you both each get your own lawyers and he files divorce paperwork through his lawyer and you file through your lawyer, then, whatever you argue about , the Lawyers will prepare paperwork and either send it to each other, send; it to the court, or show up in court and argue about it in front of the judge (or all of these things) until the judge makes the decision. This process can happen on each matter. A divorce trial will happen if things are not agreed upon before the trial date. Between the courts schedules and the lawyers fees, this can take a long time and cost alot of money.
Collaborative Divorce- is another way at arriving at a divorce. In this process, you both get lawyers experience in doing collaborative divorce. The hallmark of CD is the team of professionals you pay for that is assembled to help you understand and resolve all your issues. So, besides the lawyers in the room, they may be an accountant, actuary, real estate appraiser, child custody specialists, etc.
in my humble opinion, Northern California uses this method when there are significant assets to divided (i.e. both parties can afford the bill). BUT, with all the professionals you pay plus the lawyers, you will be totally educated about your own life in a way you were not before.
This information should answer your other two questions. IF this was helpful, please indicate so. Thank you.
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DISCLAIMER: NO ATTORNEY CLIENT RELATIONSHIP HAS BEEN FORMED. PLEASE CONSULT WITH AN ATTORNEY LICENSED IN YOUR JURISDICTION. This information has been provided for informational purposes only.
The "collaborative lawyer" is not your lawyer--they owe a fiduciary duty to your husband.
You should consult privately with your own attorney. Do not post anything online, and do not speak about this matter with anyone who isn't your lawyer.
If you don't amicably agree to a divorce, then he can sue for divorce.
If you don't want a divorce, consider seeing if your husband would be open to counseling or working with you.
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