Divorces Rise as Economy Improves

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Recent Spike in Divorce Filings Tied to Economy

Like everything else, divorce statistics are cyclic. With the U.S. economy reportedly on an upswing after a six-year recession, couples continually unable to resolve financial problems are deciding to call it quits. The federal government’s National Center for Health Statistics reports a rise in divorce filings for the third year, reportedly signaling a recovery of the ‘great recession,’ which reportedly hit rock bottom in 2008. Finances are frequently one of the most common stressors in many relationships. Marriage further complicates many ‘financial issues’ faced daily if the couple is out of sync in their views and practices of  personal finance. While one partner in the marriage may be frugal with money, a partner who is reckless with finances could instigate financial woes that the couple must resolve together. If weathering the debt storm as a couple becomes impossible, the next step might be dissolution.

Many options are available for divorcing couples when both parties wish to remain amicable. Couples who are not able to end the marriage amicably will need a ‘traditional divorce,’ requiring an attorney who will fight their battle before a judge to protect their marital interests. Using a board-certified family law specialist to represent a party in the process allows for informed decisions about the dissolution process and settlement. Simple divorces can be complicated for litigants representing themselves. Because of this, many do-it-yourself cases languish in the court system for years.

Cooperative and Non-Traditional Divorce

Rent-A-Judge, Mediation, Collaborative are all non-traditional paths to divorce many couples take when they are agreeable to ending the marital contract. Divorce can affect the quality of a person’s  lifestyle for the rest of his/her life. So whatever method is chosen, it is necessary to be informed of the options and how they work.

Rent-A-Judge

Private judging, known as “Rent-a-Judge,” involves a private process in which divorcing parties give a private individual the power to hear and decide their case. Private judges are an ideal alternative for wealthy couples who want their dissolution settled privately, quickly and amicably.

Mediation

Mediation is used to settle disputes as well as divorce while remaining flexible and confidential. With mediation, a neutral third party works with the couple to develop a settlement agreement. The neutral third party is known as the mediator. The mediator assists the couple in their decision making process. Mediators help keep the couple focused on the issues at hand while keeping them on track toward a settlement. Sometimes agreements come easy and sometimes they take time and a lot of work. When agreements are hard to reach, it’s the mediator’s job to intervene. Mediation has the ability to help the couple learn to communicate again and possibly make their post-divorce relationship better than their married one.

Collaborative Dissolution

Collaborative divorce was designed to resolve conflicts in a mutually agreed-upon process. Rather than turning the decision-making power over to a judge or other third party, control of the dissolution process is kept with the people directly involved in the marriage. Clients and their individual attorneys are at the heart of helping explore solutions for planning into the future. If children’s issues are part of the marital dispute, their needs are always placed first. Through the collaborative process documents are drawn up consensually and a settlement agreement is not signed until both parties are comfortable with the final agreement. The respective lawyers are disqualified from representing either party in any future family related litigation if the collaborative process fails.

When Divorce Requires Hiring An Attorney

If your situation requires the expertise of an attorney, remember that you must be prepared to share intimate details about your marriage, finances and personal life.  A big complaint about family court is that the process is too complicated and there are too many time consuming forms and procedures. Organizing your personal finances and important documents in chronological order will assist your legal team to help keep your finances intact and your legal fees down. Do not confuse your attorney with your therapist. When calling your attorney the time clock is ticking whether you have an actual legal question or if it’s just to complain about your spouse.

Your attorney should share your views and philosophy on divorce, especially if it is your intent to keep things cooperative and non-adversarial. If you make sure your lawyer understands you want an amicable divorce upfront, that’s what you will get from a board-certified family law specialist.

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MEL GIBSON SETTLEMENT EXEMPLIFIES BENEFITS OF COLLABORATIVE LAW

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One more example of the benefits of Collaborative Law appears in the recent settlement of actor Mel Gibson and his ex girlfriend, Russian musician Oksana Grigorieva.  It’s the one you probably haven’t heard about due to the fact the case has been handled in a most confidential manner, which is what Collaborative Law is all about.

The facts of the settlement aren’t really the interesting part here – Gibson to pay $750,000 to Grigorieva and to continue providing housing and financial support for their young daughter – but the sheer silence that has shrouded their legal proceedings in gossip-rampant Hollywood.  There was no exchanging of barbs through the media or press, and they didn’t exchange every gross detail through court-related pleadings.  They decided to resolve their legal differences the old fashioned way, in confidence.

In 2010, you might remember, Grigorieva had accused Gibson of striking her during a fight, and he had accused her of attempting to extort him.  But that all slipped under the bed sheet of confidentiality.  Now, according to Gibson’s attorneys, they are putting the final touches on his divorce from his wife of 28 years, and seemingly, the parties will then be able to move forward without sharing every gory detail with the public at large.

Which is exactly what Collaborative Law can do for you.