Saturday, January 19, 2008

Legal Warfare And Divorce

What is a "legal war" in divorce?

A legal war in divorce is engaging in the litigation process. Whether you are using the courts or your using the fax machine or the emails to death. The legal war is the flurry of letters, the flurry of court actions, using the process outside your emotions and your mind.

How do control issues affect legal wars in divorce?

Control issues affect legal wars in divorce through decisions you make. For example, are you going to let the judge control your divorce process? What lawyer are you going to hire? Are you going to go crazy handling all the faxes? I was in court years ago with a motion to get an order to stop the 2, 3, 4, 5 faxes a day. Now it's the 1 email a day. “You are a blank.” “No. you are a blank”. “You should be picking up the child at this place.” “No you told me to pick up the child at this place.” Back and forth. Then you go to court and when you attach all those letters and email and its three inches thick. Do you think the judge wants to read all that? No.

Why do people engage in legal wars in divorce?

People engage in legal wars as a form of exercise in control, generally. Sometimes they engage in legal wars because it's a thorny issue that can't be resolved. For example, if one parent wants to move out of the country with a child, there's no easy solution to that and sometimes a judge just has to decide. There's no winners in that situation; everybody loses.

What should I ask myself before engaging in a legal war in my divorce?

Before you engage in a legal war, you might want to sit back and say, "Is it worth it?" Sometimes, it is, because sometimes, you have to fight to get peace. Look at what's going on in the Middle East: it's that same battle in theory, although it isn't working there. Do you attack or make it look like you are going to attack so somebody doesn't attack you? Do you keep attacking to pummel somebody? What's your agenda, and is a legal war the best way to achieve it?

What are some good ways to avoid a legal war in divorce?

Some good ways to avoid starting a legal war are to try to resolve issues immediately, efficiently and effectively. Make sure you hire the right type of lawyer who is willing to make that effort, capable of resolving issues, but also capable of trying a case so that you have the option if voluntary resolution, is not possible.

How can I prepare for a legal war in my divorce?

You can best prepare for legal war by being organized, providing your lawyer with documents when asked on time in an organized fashion. Having a good therapist so you can deal with your emotional issues with your therapist rather than your lawyer. Use your time with your lawyer effectively and efficiently. Don't call up incessantly. Sort of like when you go to college, you make a list before you call home on Sundays. When you call your lawyer make your list, sit down with your lawyer. That's not to say you shouldn't call if you have a quick question but don't over stay your welcome because when you do have something important, the lawyer can easily tune out.

How can I make a legal war in my divorce more manageable?

How can you make your legal war more manageable? You can do the following: The best ways to make your legal war the most manageable is to have an organized filing system at home, have a good fax machine, use emails, prepare yourself with an agenda before you speak to your lawyer, use somebody in your lawyer's office who may be less expensive (an associate or a paralegal), save the important questions, the more thorny questions, for the most senior person. Respond immediately and efficiently when your lawyer asks you to do something. Don't dilly-dally. Don't play the cat-and-mouse game with your lawyer. Don't engage in the same issues with your lawyer you did with your ex.

Do legal wars always entail litigation?

Legal wars don't necessarily mean all out litigation. Legal wars, in the good sense, can also mean appropriate litigation, collaborative divorce, mediation, in some states arbitration, settlement conferences, settlement letters, and any form of conflict resolution that may not involve a judge. Maybe it's a therapist sitting down and trying to work out a custody plan. Legal wars are about involving money or your children in a more formal process.

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