Divorce and family law issues can be very delicate due to the emotionally charged conflicts surrounding intense personal matters and custody of children. The decisions you make during a divorce are permanent so you must have an experienced attorney on your side to ensure the best possible outcome. By understanding your options regarding the divorce process, you can positively restructure your family and move forward without regret. Divorce is a process to legally end a marriage. A final Judgment of Dissolution decides the issues of dividing property (assets and debts) and if there are minor children, custody, a parenting plan, and child and spousal support if warranted.
The primary processes used to resolve these issues are mediation and traditional negotiation/litigation. They differ in terms of the amount of attorney and court involvement, conflict, and cost.
Litigation is the traditional divorce process in which both parties hire attorneys to represent them in negotiations and court hearings as follows:
. Each attorney advocates positions based on the client’s personal wants, needs, and viewpoints.
. Parties communicate primarily through their attorneys regarding their positions, proposals, and counter-proposals.
. The process may involve a formal legal procedure known as “discovery” to obtain financial and other relevant information.
. Most litigation divorces are eventually settled, but only after spending substantial time, money, and emotion.
. Parties are often ultimately dissatisfied with the outcome and are likely to return to court to change the outcome or resolve disputes.
Our practice encourages clients to pursue mediation first because the goal is to enable both parties to reach agreements without the heavy financial and emotional burden of a court battle.
Mediation typically works as follows:
- Both parties hire a neutral third party, the mediator, to assist them in reaching agreements regarding their divorce.
- The mediator provides information about the divorce process and guides the discussion to help resolve issues.
- Parties communicate directly with each other in the presence of the mediator.
- Mediation works best when there is an equal knowledge of the parties’ financial situations and a willingness to work together.
If you are considering divorce, contact our office today to schedule a consultation to discuss your options. Harlan Mitchell has helped hundreds of couples divorce amicably. We can offer you valuable legal representation and mediation services in determining property division, child custody and visitation rights, and spousal support issues.
Alabama State Bar Rules require the following statement: No representation is made that the quality of the legal services to be performed is greater than the quality of legal services performed by other lawyers.