Guest Author - Caroline Henrich
There is a certain thrill associated with a court. Many lawyers have described litigating as a rush of adrenalin. It can be addictive. The same rush may occur when you see your attorney cross examining your ex-spouse. Perhaps your counsel is making him/her uncomfortable, squirm, confused or just angry. Lawyers are paid to represent your interests in front of a judge or jury.
This short term rush may not be worth the long term consequences. Lawyers are expensive and litigation is emotionally draining. The cost and effects of litigation on your ex-spouse will often not be easily forgotten. Your ex-spouse may not be cooperative when you ask for a favor regarding your children. He/she may not be willing to pay an extra bill or advance a child support payment. He/she will most certainly remind you that you were the one who choose to litigate for months/years and now he/she will abide only by the terms of the court order.
At this time, you may wish that you selected a form of collaborative divorce. Choosing collaborative divorce does not mean your ex-spouse will get everything and you will be left with no money and without your children. Make sure you investigate forms of collaborative divorce. Speak with friends or family members who have used collaborative divorce.
This article is not to suggest collaborative divorce is for everyone. If your soon to be ex-spouse has already hired an aggressive lawyer and wants to litigate, you may have no choice but to hire your own lawyer and go to court. If however your ex-spouse appears to be reasonable and you have had an amicable separation, you should explore collaborative divorce.
Collaborative divorce does not mean you will not have the benefit of legal counsel, you can. It just means that your lawyers will not engage in familiar aspects of litigation including depositions, motions, filing briefs and other forms of discovery. The two parties ordinarily will sign an agreement whereby they voluntarily agree to make all efforts to settle the divorce. There may be a mediator or a panel of experts assisting in the final agreement.
While collaborative divorce is not for everyone, it should certainly be a consideration. Please seek legal advice regarding the rules in your state and support before signing any agreements or documents.