Divorce can be costly. This guide presents the factors which increase divorce costs.
Willingness to Compromise
The willingness or unwillingness of the parties to compromise contribute to the costs of divorce. TAlk to your spouse to see if you can agree on the issues between you and a fair and equitable resolution of those issues. IF both of you are willing to adress the issues, it is possible to negotiate a settlement you can both live with.
Dealing with Emotion
If you and your spouse harbor rancor toward each other or if either of you harbors rancor toward the other, then it is not likely you will be able to avoid contested litigation, at least until clearer heads are able to prevail. In short you will not e able to get your divorce inexpensively, so long as hurt feelings take priority in your mind or that of your spouse. The only way to achieve a settlement in those circumstances is total capitulation, or if both parties set aside their feelings and bitterness in order to address the issues fairly, equitably and reasonably.
The Right Attorney
Find a divorce attorney who is willing to help you try to find an amicable resolution of your disputes. You want an experienced attorney who has a good reputation for trying to settle divorce cases while at the same time demonstrating the ability to try successfully those cases which must be tried. When you think you have developed a list of potential attorneys, investigate them, heck out what clients sayu about the attorney.
Narrow the Issues for Litigation
Years ago, I stepped into a long-pending divorce to finalize it for a client. The divorce ws stalled in the court after her husband's attorney withdrew from the case. The client's prior attorney had slowed the case to languish without giving it the attention required to obtain a resolution. The client and her husband agreed on Many laisses, custody, child support, division of real estate and division of debt. The one area that could not be resolved by agreement was the husband's pension. He simply was not willing to give her any of his pension. I suggested we finalize the agreement on those areas which were agreed and that we agree to submit the issue of the pension to the court for decision. Husband signed off on the settlement. At the final hearing for divorce, the sole issue for the court to determine was division of the pension and took all of 20 minutes. The lesson is simple, resolve those issues which you can resolve and litigate only those issues which must be litigated.
Alternative Dispute Resolution
Sometimes you need help finding the middle ground for agreement and compromise. This is where mediation or a judicial settlement conference can be helpful. The mediator is trained to assist people in resolving conflict. The judicial settlement conference is helpful to get recalcitrant people to reach an agreement by showing them what a judge thinks of the facts and likely outcome of litigation which at the same time guiding them to settle.
There are three situations where alternate dispute resolution may be desirable::
1. When you and your spouse are motivated to settle due to time constraints, expenses or other factors,
2. When it would be helpful or expedient to have a neutral evaluation of your case or your spouse's case in a private setting or your lawyer thinks that "reality testing" by the settlement judge would be helpful in precipitating a settlement.
3. When you ad your spouse differ substantially in your opinion on valuation or support issues.
Participating in a judicial settlement conference is deemed making a good faith effort to resolve the case. The judge is there to assist in achieving settlement and has no authority to try or to decide disputes. The settlement proceedings are confidential and nothing said during the settlement conference or prepared for use in the conference is admissible at trial, unless the statement or document is independently admissible.
The long and the short of it is your divorce can be as expensive or as inexpensive as you and your spouse want to make it. Cooperation, willingness to compromise and the golden rule will go a long way in reducing the costs of your divorce in money and in stress.
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