The Divorce Process--Traditional Representation. Many families do not realize that they have choices about the divorce process. The process you and your spouse select may profoundly infuence your satisfaction with the outcome.
With traditional representation, both parties have their own attorney and the attorney seeks the best possible result for his client. The process tends to pit the interests of one spouse against the other. Even though most cases settle, trial is still a real possibility and the attorney must prepare accordingly. This might mean an expensive exchange of information known as discovery. For the system to work, the clients and the lawyers must cooperate, otherwise the judge will decide the case. Litigation is expensive and hard on all family members. It is for this reason, that most judges recommend or even require mediation. Nonetheless, litigation may be the only option for some families.
An Alternative Process--Mediation. Mediation recognizes that the best results typically come when the interests of both parties are taken into consideration.
With mediation, family members meet with the mediator in his office and not in a courtroom, to cooperatively work together to form sensible agreements. Although an attorney mediator does not represent either party, he is there to help both spouses to understand the issues that need to be addressed and the available options to consider. An attorney mediator can prepare all of the necessary documents for the family. Either or both spouses may also seek the assistance of a consulting attorney, if they so desire, prior to submitting the negotiated agreements to the court for final approval. For the overwhelming majority of families, mediation will save time, money, and reduce the stress and aggravation of an already difficult situation.
Collaborative Law is another alternative process that attempts to take the best from both mediation and traditional representation. Limited Representation is being explored in some Kansas counties, including Johnson County. With Limited Representation, the client does much of the work himself or herself and relies on the lawyer for only certain tasks. This process works best wtih very simple divorces, limited assets, and high levels of cooperation between spouses. To learn more about traditional representation, mediation, limited representation, and Collaborative Law and what might be the best process for your family, see Frequently Asked Questions. To make the best of the process you select, visit Tips for a Sensible Divorce.
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