Divorces don’t always have to end in messy litigation, courtroom drama and appeals. For many, the path is made easier by options such as mediation; where, with the guidance of a good divorce attorney, you might be able to come to a feasible solution sooner. If you’re steeling yourself for the impact of a divorce, here is what you should know about the options that you have.
During divorce mediation, a neutral third party who is a mediation expert is called upon to work with the couple and their attorneys. He/she guides the pair towards an agreement and has the final divorce settlement agreement signed off. This makes things a lot less sticky for you and your spouse as things are handled without much mud slinging – vital if you foresee having to interact with your spouse in future as well, especially if you have kids together. The process is discreet and isn’t as expensive as going to trial. You also have a say in the final agreement, unlike when the court decides based on the presented evidence in a divorce trial. Just have your divorce attorney go over it with a fine toothed comb to make sure it is drafted properly and is watertight as far as the law is concerned.
In a collaborative divorce, both husband and wife must sign agreements with attorneys, that also mentions that the attorneys must withdraw and new attorneys must be signed on if the litigation is jeopardized in any manner or a settlement is not reached. You will have discussions with your attorney, your spouse with theirs, and then you will meet with them and your spouse together. The idea is to arrive at a final agreement/settlement with the aid of your divorce attorneys. If a financial expert is needed, a divorce financial planner is called upon. When a final agreement is mutually agreed on, you are typically required to go before a judge in court where he/she will sign off, making the agreement legally binding. Not unlike mediation, disclosures are purely voluntary, so a spouse may try and conceal assets.
Divorce litigation is not as unusual as the name might indicate. In fact, this is becoming the norm for most divorcing couples today. The bulk of such divorces are settled out of court without actually going to trial, so don’t be scared off by the word litigation. You will, as in the case of divorce mediation or a collaborative divorce, require the services of a divorce attorney. This is a safe route if you suspect your spouse of concealing assets, being domineering, or if you have been the victim of domestic violence or abuse. And that’s because there is a legal mechanism which your attorney will exercise to make it mandatory for your spouse to respond to specific lists, disclose assets and share information. It also allows you to make a case for yourself and with the help of an experienced divorce attorney who is skilled at negotiations, get a fair deal.
Going It Alone
Divorce is an alienating experience on its own, without adding the pressure of managing the paperwork and legal side of things by yourself. When it comes to things close to your heart, deciding the fate of things that were once part of your shared life, emotions can run high. The calm, balanced perspective of a third party – your divorce attorney can bring a measure of structure to things.
In addition, should you find yourself embroiled in heavy arguments and if you are unable to come to a mutually agreeable plan with your now estranged spouse, a divorce attorney who is well versed with divorce mediation and trial proceedings can help swing things your way. More than anything else, knowing you have a shoulder to lean on, and someone with the right legal expertise by your side, you will sleep easier.
Gerald A. Maggio is an experienced Orange County divorce and family law lawyer and family law attorney located in Irvine, California, serving the Orange County and Riverside areas. Mr. Maggio assists clients with legal issues including divorce, legal separation, divorce mediation, child custody, prenuptial agreements, stepparent adoptions, and other family law issues. Mr. Maggio has practiced law in California since 1999, and founded The Maggio Law Firm in 2005, focusing exclusively on divorce and family law matters.