How Do You Define “Winning” in Family Law?

How Do You Define “Winning” in Family Law?It can feel good to win. Whether it’s your favorite sports team, a personal challenge, or even a divorce, for some people winning isn’t everything; it’s the only thing. But how do you define winning in matters of family law? In a divorce, neither side will have a complete victory over the other, and that’s okay. You likely won’t keep every asset from your marriage, you will be dividing parenting time with your children, and you may be required to pay spousal maintenance.

“Winning” a divorce means meeting your goals, whatever they may be. Do you want your child 100% of the time? Do you want to avoid paying alimony? Do you want alimony? What about child support and dividing assets? Before your divorce, you should sit down with us and decide how you want to come out at the end of the process and whether your goals are realistic in light of the circumstances, because this will inform how we represent you.

When avoiding litigation matters the most

A divorce is considered litigated when spouses can’t agree on how to resolve issues like child support, spousal support, or how to divide property. One spouse will file a divorce complaint with the court, and the divorce will take place in family court. You may be able to avoid litigation with something called alternative dispute resolution (ADR). With ADR – mediation, arbitration, or collaborative divorce – you and your spouse can hammer out the details of your divorce in private and sometimes for less money than it would cost to go to court.

If you and your spouse are able, mediation may be a good idea to help you meet your goals. Mediation is a method of dispute resolution in which a neutral third party, known as a mediator, helps facilitate communication and negotiation between parties involved in a conflict or dispute. The goal of mediation is to assist the parties in reaching a mutually acceptable agreement that resolves their issues without the need for formal litigation or court intervention. You can use mediation to decide issues like alimony, child custody, child support, and asset division.

ADR is not for everyone, however. For proceedings to be equitable and fair, each spouse should have relatively even bargaining power, and not be intimidated or fearful of the other. Managing partner Heather McCabe is a certified mediator, and can help you better understand the process and what it entails before you begin.

When you’re embroiled in a high-conflict divorce

You may know ahead of time that your divorce is going to be high-conflict. Perhaps your spouse is a compulsive gambler, narcissist, or sex addict. Perhaps you haven’t stopped fighting for weeks or months. Perhaps your spouse is abusive. In cases like these, it is all the more important to have an attorney on your side.

Your attorney can help manage conflict in parenting situations, for example, by the use of parenting coordinators, if child custody and visitation are in question. A parenting coordinator is a neutral third party who helps parents resolve parenting issues. They are appointed by the court when the parents are unable to resolve issues on their own. Using a parenting coordinator can help reduce the number of appearances in court when parents are unable to come to an understanding. Partner Heather McCabe is a certified parenting coordinator.

Partners Heather McCabe and Emily Russell are also certified Best Interest Attorneys. A best interest attorney is a lawyer appointed by the court to represent the best interests of a child in a case. In the event that you and your spouse cannot move forward, a BIA serves to protect your children’s rights.

If protecting your family is your primary concern

You may be getting divorced because domestic violence was a part of your marriage. In cases like these, you may want to look into a protective order during your divorce. A protective order is a legal document issued by the court that protects individuals from abuse, threats, harassment, or violence by another person. Protective orders are typically requested by victims who fear for their safety or well-being due to the actions of another individual, such as a current or former spouse.

When you’re “stuck” creating a parenting plan

The best parenting plans are those that are mutually agreed upon between both parties. Do you want to decide together who gets the kids or do you want a court to decide for you? Our attorneys can help you come up with a child custody plan that works in the best interests of your children. Note that a parenting coordinator can also help in this regard.

You have a variety of parenting plans available to you, including parallel parenting, which is an option for high-conflict child custody cases. With parallel parenting, both parties maintain distance from each other in order to serve the best interests of their child. Think of parallel parenting as a business arrangement – you and your ex do not have to like each other but you can choose to work together for the sake of your child.

You may also look into creating a parenting plan, one that works for everyone, with the help of our family law attorneys. A parenting plan is a document that outlines how separated or divorced parents will share the responsibilities and duties of raising their children. Use our parenting plan checklist to help.

What it means to be a Fulton family lawyer who wins

For us, we win when you achieve your divorce goals. We win when you walk away feeling confident about your future. We win when we know your kids are safe and well-taken care of. We win every time we are recognized for our work, and when our clients feel satisfied with the outcome.

It’s important to understand that you will likely not get everything you want during your divorce, and to set your expectations accordingly. The family law system is based on mutual agreement rather than a traditional idea of winning; the courts believe the ability to settle all matters is a win for both parties. Whatever your idea of winning is, we want to help you achieve it.

Talk to the attorneys at McCabe Russell, P.A. today for help with your divorce. To schedule an appointment or consultation with one of our experienced Fulton family law attorneys, call our offices or fill out our contact form. We maintain additional offices in Bethesda, Rockville, and Columbia.