Few legal proceedings strike a more personal chord than separation, divorce, and their corollary issues. When partners separate, significant issues such as custody of and access to children, financial support and property division can be very stressful to deal with.
When going through a separation or other family law dispute, many people don’t know where to start. Many assume that they will inevitably end up in a contentious and costly court proceeding.
Popular television legal dramas give the impression that every family law case is destined to be battled out in court, with every point fought bitterly at great expense to both parties, both personally and financially. This can be very misleading. In fact, a court proceeding can be avoided in many family law cases. The resolution of a family law matter does not have to involve adversarial litigation.
Given the popularity of these shows and how they portray family disputes, you may be surprised to discover that many lawyers are willing to work with each other to resolve matters on behalf of their clients in a cost-effective and amicable manner. Maintaining civility in the separation process and preserving the parenting relationship is the goal, for the good of the whole family.
Court is far from inevitable. There are many options for resolving a family law dispute outside of court.
What are your options?
Choosing the most suitable dispute resolution option in a family law dispute can be overwhelming for individuals already experiencing the stress and upheaval of separation.
A family lawyer can take you through the options available to you to resolve your dispute. There are also various professionals that can help along the way, such as financial planners and parenting professionals.
Even if you and your former partner have not been able to resolve the issue on your own, there is a good chance that the matter can be resolved with assistance from a qualified professional. Frequently, productive and amicable communication between parties is impeded by issues such as the stress of separation, differing approaches to parenting, communication issues between the parties and an incomplete understanding of the law. Even in these cases, not all hope of a negotiated settlement is lost. Parties who seek assistance from professionals such as lawyers and mediators can often overcome these roadblocks to communication and arrive at a settlement.
Of course, there are circumstances where court is necessary. A family lawyer will be able to help you assess your case and your options.
What are your first steps?
If you are separating, before agreeing to or signing anything, consider speaking with a lawyer as soon as possible so you can better understand your entitlements and obligations.
No matter where you are in your process, finding the dispute resolution process that is right for you and your circumstances can make the resolution of your family law matter less adversarial and less costly. One resolution method does not fit all cases, and you will need to decide whether an alternative dispute resolution process is right for your case. The right process for you and your family is a decision that is best made when you are fully informed of your options.
Even matters that are already in court can be successfully diverted out of contentious and costly litigation and into a dispute resolution process for final settlement.
Tenk Tatum LLP has experience in resolving family law disputes through a variety of dispute resolution processes including negotiation, mediation, mediation/arbitration and litigation. We work with a variety of professionals that can assist you with your family law matter including issues pertaining to children and property division.