It has been said that marriage only ends two ways – in death or divorce. If both parties are alive and well but one or both want to end the marriage, there are several avenues the parties can pursue but all settlements must ultimately be approved by the Court. The procedure to initiate a dissolution of marriage begins with filing a request with the Court but what happens next depends on several factors including the level of trust and cooperation between the parties. The higher the level of trust the more likely the parties will be able to work together to create a mutually agreed upon agreement. However, this is family law and emotions often dictate the quality of cooperation.
Litigation is most commonly associated with contested divorce proceedings. While some cases require the involvement of the court, litigation is expensive, notoriously slow and most litigants are left feeling unsatisfied with the results. However, it is possible to avoid litigation while leveraging its influential power if you have competent counsel to navigate you through the challenges.
Mediation is generally a less hostile process than litigation that affords the parties more control and flexibility over the outcome of their case. However, a mediator is simply a facilitator of communication and cannot provide legal advice to either party. Further, a mediator can be anyone: an accountant, a lawyer, or a non-professional.
Collaboration is another process that allows parties to proceed more peacefully by using experienced neutrals and experts. However, you will incur costs associated with hiring experts including attorneys, accountants, business evaluators, and psychologists in order to reach an amicable resolution. In addition, if you do not reach an agreement and the matter proceeds to litigation then you also forfeit the use of any experts used during the collaborative process.
If parties cannot agree, then the matter will proceed through the court system. However, there are several available options to resolution if parties are open to negotiations and communication. If you are contemplating a divorce or are already going through a divorce, contact our office to see how we can help you navigate this process.
Shannon R. Loeser, Esq.
Certified Family Law Specialist
28202 Cabot Road, Suite 520
Laguna Niguel, CA 92677
Tel: (949) 392-5050