A Divorce Is a Lawsuit
An uncontested divorce is a lawsuit. And this lawsuit must be filed, even if the divorcing couple is not in conflict regarding parenting plans, financial support, and asset and debt distribution. So even if a divorcing couple can set aside the raw emotion of the break-up, most have difficulty with the lawsuit itself: complex and counter-intuitive procedures, technical language, and a lack of accurate, trustworthy information regarding the rules as they apply to the couple’s children, finances, and property.
And while a skilled, experienced family law attorney could assist a couple in overcoming these challenges, the family law practitioner must be willing and able to help the spouses reach an agreement through negotiation and compromise. Most are not, often for good reason.
Proper Legal Representation Is Important
First, all attorneys are mandated to zealously represent the interests of their clients against the interests of the other party. As a result, many practitioners have become accustomed to playing the role of “warrior” as opposed to “facilitator.” While such an adversarial dynamic promotes numerous professional and economic benefits for the practitioner, the opposite is true for the parties who incur exorbitant legal fees and suffer significant delays in completing the process often for no demonstrable benefit regarding the final outcome.
Moreover, a family law practitioner who attempts to facilitate global resolution by working with both spouses assumes significant professional and economic risks. For example, if the attorney meets with both parties at the same time to discuss an impending divorce matter, that attorney would be ethically prohibited from representing either party if the matter becomes contested and thereby lose a potential client. And even if the attorney is able to facilitate an agreement, if one of the spouses changes his or her mind regarding the terms of the agreement, the attorney can become the target of dissatisfaction and possibly an ethical complaint with the State Bar.
Cooperation Is Not Always Enough
Second, while collaborative procedures have been enacted in California allowing divorce counsel to mediate and negotiate conflicts between the spouses to reach a global settlement, avoid ethical issues, and receive fair compensation, the collaborative process requires each spouse to retain his or her own collaborative counsel, the cost of which is prohibitive for most Californians.
Finding a Solution
The attorneys at Modern Family Law are able and willing to tailor our legal services to accommodate the objectives of our clients, whether those services are related an uncontested divorce, mediation, document preparation, or full representation. If you have questions about your current situation, please contact us and schedule a free same-day case assessment.
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