A divorce is an emotional and stressful process, to say the least. It is not just the two marriage partners who are impacted by a divorce. Children, extended family members, and friends of the spouses may have to come to terms with the dissolution of the marriage. Changes in households and financial responsibilities will have to be considered.
The emotional impact of the divorce will already make the transitioning process difficult; both partners should not have to stress themselves or each other out worrying about the legal proceedings of the divorce. Couples who undergo divorce mediation often think that they don’t need the help of an attorney, but nothing could be further from the truth. Even when mediation is successful, you want to have a divorce attorney on your side.
What is divorce mediation?
Many spouses may want to avoid taking the divorce proceeding through a trial and resort to alternative means of resolution such as mediation. While mediation may be a better tactic to help couples negotiate certain issues in a divorce, even the best partnerships can become tense when discussing issues of child custody, child support, alimony, or property division.
How can a divorce lawyer help during mediation?
First, understand that mediators are neutral parties: they’re not there to represent your best interests. As such, if the balance of a divorce begins to tip in your spouse’s favor, your mediator may not say anything about it to you – and that can leave you in a precarious position that is legally unfixable. So you really do need a divorce lawyer to help ensure that you end up with your fair share.
It is also beneficial to hire an attorney if your spouse has already hired his or her own attorney. If one spouse is represented by an attorney and another spouse decides to represent himself or herself in a divorce proceeding, the spouse without an attorney is more than likely going to end up with an unfair deal. Hiring an attorney would help level the playing field and ensure that both parties are going to walk away with a fair agreement.
Divorce attorneys have knowledge of the law
The various rules for divorce vary from state to state. Unless one or both of the partners is familiar with certain legal jargon and the different statutes, many spouses underestimate how complex the divorce process can be to navigate alone. Experienced, local attorneys know the law and are more than capable of interpreting the various statutes in a way both partners can understand. You’ll need this knowledge before and during your mediation sessions.
Divorce attorneys are prepared if things fall apart
If one of the spouses begins to be unreasonable and mediation falls apart, you will need a divorce lawyer, plain and simple. We have worked with clients who are surprised that their mediation failed, because the desire to divorce was mutual and their spouse seemed so “reasonable” about the process. The truth is that mediation is hard on a lot of couples looking to divorce, and it does not always succeed.
It is in your best interest to have already hired an attorney if your spouse is engaging in bad behavior. Some spouses begin to torment their partners by hiding assets, destroying property, spending finances from joint marital accounts, and threatening the other spouse physically or financially for even filing a divorce. When the other spouse is making it extremely difficult to work together, it is best for the other spouse to seek the assistance of an attorney.
What about collaborative law, instead?
If mediation does not succeed but both parties still wish to avoid litigation, collaborative law may be the right solution. Through collaborative practice, both attorneys and clients come to a mutual agreement in advance to not litigate in court and share voluntary information to help reach a settlement in the divorce process. To be eligible for this process, both spouses will need to agree to collaborative divorce and hire collaborative lawyers.
Both spouses and their attorneys must then sign a contract that states that each client must hire a new attorney to handle the contested case if the parties cannot come to an agreement using the collaborative process. While this seems like more trouble for the spouses, it will actually make all parties involved work a little harder to settle, saving time and money for both clients.
Divorce does not have to be destructive or combative. The family law attorneys at McCabe Russell PA, understand how stressful and scary the divorce process is for everyone. Schedule a consultation with a member of our team by calling 443-917-3347 or completing a contact form on our website. We serve our clients at office locations in Fulton, Bethesda, Rockville, and Columbia.