Divorce, also known as dissolution of marriage, can be a frustrating, lengthy, and heartbreaking process. One of the most difficult parts of divorce is that parties often find it difficult to work with their soon to be ex-spouse, making a timely resolution almost impossible. One of the most important pieces of advice I give all my clients is to take as much of the emotion out of the proceedings as possible, and to treat a divorce like a business transaction.
There are so many issues in virtually all divorce cases, including:
Financial support such as spousal maintenance, often referred to as alimony
Matrimonial law is a mixture of strict law application and equity or fairness. This means that outcomes can be vastly different from case to case even when the facts are similar. One thing to
keep in mind is that divorce law puts many of the decisions into the judge's hands unless the parties can come to an agreement without going to trial.
Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) is a common method used to resolve a case when both parties are hoping to avoid a trial. Trials are not bad, but they are unpredictable. ADR is a process in which the two parties appear before an impartial judge - a judge that is not affiliated with the case at all - in the hopes that the parties can come to agreements on all issues within the dissolution. ADR is not binding unless the parties choose for it to be so and reach agreements.
If resolution through ADR or another negotiated agreement is not possible, then the parties will go to a trial in front of a family law judge. This functions much like any other trial: the parties present evidence, witnesses are examined, and the judge renders a decision. A thorough knowledge of the rules of evidence and trial procedure is paramount to a good outcome. I often have clients confused and frustrated with the process because they don't know what can and cannot be done at trial or what the judge will and will not consider as evidence in the case. Rest assured, though, because an experienced attorney can provide you with your best chances at the outcomes you are looking for.