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Divorce is a landmark event often emotionally as well as financially devastating. After years of litigating divorces in court & alternatively working with divorcing couples out of court, I have made several observations. My preference is to work with both parties to the divorce, consulting with them & helping them make informed decisions throughout the divorce. By taking this approach they can avoid the court system. Making their own decisions rather than the judge making their decisions for them typically leaves them both with the feeling that the result was fair & equitable.
Couples who divorce out of court have more assets to divide. The money saved in attorney’s fees remains part of the couple’s assets that they will divide amongst themselves.
Couples who divorce out of court are happier with the result. Instead of a judge deciding who will keep which assets, the couples use reason to divide the assets in a way that lets each party keep assets that are meaningful to them.
When couples battle over custody & visitation of the children in the court system, the negativity that ensues resonates to the children. Further the parents know their children’s needs & their particular situations better than the courts. The court deals with a multitude of cases each day & does not always have the time or the resources to delve into each family’s particular needs. Orders are made that may not be in your children’s best interest.
Family court is adversarial by nature. Each lawyer is trying to get the best for their client & this creates conflict. This conflict often affects the parties’ emotional well being as well as creating a trickle-down effect which causes emotional instability amongst the children.
To comply with the law & court rules, lawyers must often generate document after document & also respond to the other lawyer’s documents. The client pays for every document, letter, phone call, meeting, court appearance & more. There are often several court hearings & trials. This is not only expensive but the divorce may take longer than the necessary six months.
When handling a divorce in this manner I remain completely unbiased, no matter who is paying for my services or who first contacted me. If for whatever reason the couple cannot agree on all the issues & one or both of them decides to go to court, at that time each party would be free to retain another attorney of their choosing. I would not represent either party. In the unlikely event that this should occur there is a good chance that most of the issues will already be resolved & only one or a few limited issues cannot be agreed upon, thereby limiting the cost & time involved in bringing it before the court compared to what it would have entailed if they had never tried to settle out of court.Call my office to schedule a free consultation. If you are leaning towards a “No-Court Divorce” I recommend that both parties attend the initial consultation together. I look forward to hearing from you
Karen C. Smith, Attorney
702 Marshall Street, Suite 615, Redwood City, CA 94063