I was reading the other day about a particular litigated divorce case which resulted in a 36-day trial and $500,000 in lawyer fees. That's half a million dollars! The divorcing individuals were not wealthy – he worked as a police officer and she had a part-time computer-based business, so those legal fees had a huge financial effect on them. A litigated divorce can really rack up attorney fees quickly, and before you know it, you're looking at colossal debt.
The judge in this particular trial, Justice Alex Pazaratz, wrote this in a follow-up to his ruling: “What will it take to convince angry parents that nasty and aggressive litigation never turns out well?” He then berated the parents for having “squandered” money on the trial that could have benefited their young daughter.
The attorney for the child's father was quoted as saying, “It was a really sad case…The strong message that needs to come across with this case is it's a no-win situation for anybody” (to drag things out in court). She continued with, “It's completely driven by parents who are being unreasonable with each other.”
But not only is divorce litigation an expensive option, it is usually a very traumatic experience with both short-term and long-term repercussions. This is true not only for the divorcing couple, but especially true for any children involved. In an acrimonious and angry divorce, children are not only losing their family unit, they are often exposed to fighting, and horrible accusations or name-calling between their parents. This causes sadness, grief, anxiety, and even depression in these unfortunate children, and these effects can stay with them into adulthood. They can grow up with feelings of guilt, alienation from one of the parents, and possible issues with the sex of the parent they blame for the breakdown. As adults, they may be more susceptible to depression and anxiety, and are more likely to have marriages that end in divorce.
On the other hand, when parents have been fighting a lot before the divorce, an amicable divorce can actually provide relief to the children that now the fighting will stop. An amicable divorce doesn't mean the parents no longer have differences, but it does mean that they agree to treat each other with civility and fairness as they negotiate a divorce agreement that is workable for them, and best for the children. This method can greatly reduce the amount of stress and trauma imposed on the children.
Divorce With Dignity is a national network of divorce support professionals who have a lot of experience assisting people with amicable divorces and divorce agreement negotiations. We can guide you through the divorce process, and help you with the divorce papers and court filings. If you have decided that divorce is your best course of action, and would like to explore an option that is much less traumatic and far less expensive than a litigated divorce, please give us a call. Check our website to find a Divorce With Dignity facilitator near you.
The author of this blog is not an attorney and the information contained in these blogs should not be considered legal advice. The information provided here is based on the experience of the author and some of her clients whose actual names are not mentioned. Do not hesitate to seek the advice of an attorney if you have any legal questions.