1. Litigation in a courtroom usually drags on (and on). If you’re lucky, it will take only months, sometimes it will take about a year, but it could go on for years. Sometimes it never actually finalizes because the negotiations come to a halt when the money runs out.
2. Litigation brings out the worst in people. There’s a reason they call it a divorce war. When it’s over, there’s a winner and there’s a loser. If you’re angry, it can fuel the anger. If you’re depressed, it can fuel the depression. If you’re bitter, well you know. It will take a toll on your mental and sometimes you’re physical health; the anxiety before a hearing, the resulting feeling after losing in the courtroom. The negative energy can consume people and that doesn’t help the children.
3. Litigation is expensive. The typical family law attorney’s hourly rate in Southern California is about $250. A really good attorney will charge more. It’s rare for a retainer fee to be less than $3000.00, and sometimes middle income wage earners end up paying in the tens of thousands of dollars to go through the process. Remember, because attorneys charge by the hour, they have no incentive to settle the case quickly.
4. Litigation’s final result isn’t always fair. What you were taught in school about our justice system is really an ideal, something that’s strived for. It’s not really what happens all the time. It could be biases, it could be who has more money to spend, it could be that they system is overloaded. The system is run by humans and humans are not perfect.
Too many people think they have to hire an attorney to take their divorce case before a judge. There are other options. Hire a legal document assistant who is bonded and registered with the county clerk to prepare your legal documents under your direction. They can also file the papers for you take care of other clerical tasks. If there are major issues that you need help in resolving, you can hire a private mediator who typically charge about $150 an hour. You can also check into collaborative divorce, where professionals such as attorneys, financial planners, and other counselors help you to intelligently cooperate into the fairest settlement possible. So save your money, and spare your children from the fallout. Even if you’re in the process of litigating, you can still stop and settle using these other means.