How NOT To Start A Divorce Case
by Courtney W. Kerce, Esq.
I was at a salon other day and overheard a conversation with the woman in the chair next to me. She provided me with an excellent example of how a person should not start a divorce case.
The woman told me that she and her husband had been separated for about a year, were raising two children together, and were very amicable towards each other. In fact, her Husband had just called a week earlier to ask her if she wanted anything in particular for Christmas. They had discussed between them a resolution of the issues and had pretty much resolved most of the big issues between them.
The woman and her Husband agreed that her Husband would hire an attorney to start the process of filing the paperwork, with the hopes that the two of them could resolve the remaining issues soon. Husband retained an attorney who filed a lawsuit alleging the wife of every marital misdeed under the sun. Needless to say, the wife is no longer interested in an amicable resolution and informed me that the gloves were off and the battle on!
It occurred to me that not only was this a tragic turn of events for this family, but also that the action of Husband’s lawyer was more the norm than the exception. The lawyer in this case was either too inexperienced or too uncaring to understand that a families in my friends position have a variety of options available to them to start a divorce case.
There are formal dispute resolution processes, such as Collaborative Practice and Mediation, that are non adversarial and designed to preserve family relationships (or at least cause no further harm) while assisting all parties through the divorce process. Experienced divorce lawyers also have a panoply of informal processes that are initiated with a simple letter to a husband or wife.
I have found that in the absence of an emergency or exceptional circumstances, filing a lawsuit will more often than not inflame passions and cause a great more suffering than necessary. Experienced divorce lawyers understand families in the process of divorce and separation need more skillful means to begin the legal divorce process. Any experienced divorce lawyer should know better than to start a routine divorce case, especially one where the parties are getting along rather well, with a nasty legal Complaint.
I know from my litigation experience what is store for the woman in the salon. She is most certainly facing at least 1 to 2 years of great financial and emotional suffering for her and her family, at the end of which there will be no winner. In fact, the only people that benefit from divorce litigation are almost always the divorce lawyers. I have found that keeping my clients out of divorce litigation if at all possible will serve their financial and emotional needs while providing me with a an excellent livelihood with great work satisfaction.