TV shows and movies that portray divorce as a battle breeds the popular misconception that all divorces lead to inevitable battles. This is based on the erroneous assumption that divorcing partners are too angry and distrustful to divorce in a nonadversarial way.The adversarial legal system and its advocates (lawyers) proclaim that there is just a single option of fighting because in that system, you will inevitably fight. That is pretty much unavoidable. But if you remove yourself from this broken system and opt for mediation, you can control the process and end up with a nonadversarial cooperative divorce in San Diego.
Why Choose A Nonadversarial Cooperative Divorce?
The reason that spouses choose litigated divorces is that it is what has been standard and typical in this country. And often one or both of you are hurt and fearful and distrustful, and lawyers will tell you what you want to hear. Even if you are hurt and fearful and distrusting, if you come see Scott Levin and San Diego Divorce Mediation first, we find that there is still affection and love that will allow you to have a decent divorce. But if you first opt for litigation, this reservoir of goodwill disappears almost instantly because of the impact of two lawyers and law firms and billable hours which begin to supplant any good feelings. Each of you will hold the other responsible for the legal actions of your attorneys and whatever goodwill there was disappears.
So do yourself a favor and start with mediation before you hire lawyers. If you do, we can save you so much anger, money, hatred and time. By all means, still have a consultation with a lawyer and educate yourself but do not engage an attorney until you both have discussed mediation and pursued this option. Only once all efforts at mediation have been exhausted should you let a lawyer take control of your case and start billing and bombing. Remember, our mediation clients often resolve their entire divorce in 4-6 weeks. In the adversarial process, you won’t have accomplished a single positive action in this same timeframe. Literally, most clients successfully file their marital settlement agreements within 6 weeks of engaging us whereas the litigation process has not even started yet by this time. Wow, pretty shocking we know…
If children don’t cope well in your divorce, they will make it difficult for you when you try to build a relationship with a new mate. Step-parenting is difficult in the best of circumstances but children still caught up in your unresolved divorce are guaranteed to wreck your next marriage. So if you screw up your divorce, kids will often help screw up your future relationships.
Studies show that bad divorces breed bad second marriages. So if you end your first marriage unsuccessfully through the divorce process, you can expect to have significant failures in future relationships. Keep in mind that the choices you make now will determine the way your divorce turns out. As a couple, you can choose to control the extent to which you behave as adversaries. The fact that you’re hurt, angry, sad, distrusting and concerned for your future doesn’t prevent you from making the best choices for your future. We aren’t advising you to act angelically and against your self-interests. Rather, the most self-serving thing you can do is to choose to stay in control of a process that can hurt you when it’s led out of control by two opposing litigation attorneys.
The More In Control You Are, The Better Off You Will Be:
If you hire litigators to do your divorce, the end result will be a settlement that is reached on the courtroom door hours before your trial is set to begin. You will have little understanding of what’s in the agreement and you’ll depend entirely on your lawyers for their expert opinion. In this scenario, you are passive and dependent like a child. You are the subject of the agreement rather than its author.
What studies show over and over is that the more you author the agreement, the better off you will be. So the more you retain control and the more active you are in the formation of the agreement, the more that agreement will reflect your needs. The more you both participate, the better it will reflect your needs, your partner’s needs and your children’s needs. This is how you maximize your chances of success in your new life.
Effective negotiation is the key to a good divorce. To achieve effective negotiation, choose the following paths:
- Be active, not passive
- Acquire knowledge rather than depend exclusively on professionals
- Base your position on need, not fault.
- Negotiate in good faith, not bad faith.
- Experience and express your anger rather than act it out.
We will bring you some more tips and ideas to consider for a quality divorce in the coming days and weeks. Be sure to check back. If you are divorcing or considering divorce, be sure to give us a call first.
San Diego Divorce & Family Mediation