Three Paths of Divorce
Mike Coonrod, sbjLive producer

Three Paths of Divorce

Posted online

While divorce can be a difficult and lengthy process, Jillian Wood, managing partner with Stange Law Firm, outlines how a divorce can take three paths with different levels of complexity.

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Duration: 2:19

Video Transcription:

- One of the common questions that clients come to us and ask is, how long will a divorce case take? And cases typically follow one of three different paths. Path number one is where people come to us with an agreement or generally have an idea of what their agreement is going to be, and we're able to, as individual attorneys, put together an agreement, draft that up and help people resolve their case in an amicable fashion. There are some other alternatives to obviously coming together with an agreement. I'll talk about those in a minute.

But there is, like, the second path, which I call the half settled, half litigated path, wherein we start a case, we have to do filings. We engage in the process of discovery where we exchange information, understand where each party's side is, and then we're able to sit down and reach a resolution or settlement between the two sides of the litigation that generally makes both parties happy, acceptable. You know, they're happy with whatever it is that they've created and they move forward.

The third path is the litigated path where ultimately people can't agree on how they're going to resolve their issues and a judge has to be the one to decide that. And unfortunately, when a judge has to decide a case, it becomes a very difficult, time-consuming process of preparing and presenting that case, having people testify, having cross examinations of the other side, preparing documentary evidence, presenting that to the court. And at the end of the day, it's ultimately the court that is the one that issues that decision. Which sometimes people find very, very frustrating, and they don't find it a fair sort of process in a lot of ways.

In that settlement path, you do have a couple other alternatives, which I call alternative dispute resolution. One path is mediation, where both parties sit down together with what we call neutral mediator to discuss and resolve their issues and come up with an agreement that they both can live with.

The other alternative is something that is also growing in popularity here in the U.S., which is collaborative law, where both parties sit together with their attorneys in the room and also with someone called a divorce coach or someone that's trained in psychology or counseling to help the parties work through their issues and also address any emotional issues that come up during that process. And you work through, again, all of the steps to reach a resolution. And generally, parties find that that is a good process, a holistic process where they can express their feelings, but also reach a resolution that is acceptable to them.