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So You're Getting a Divorce-Does that Mean You Need to Fight in Court?


Going through a divorce can be one of the most emotionally painful things a person can experience. Two people once united by love or some semblance thereof are now divided due to infidelity, emotional or physical distance, mental or bodily abuse, and a great deal of other “irreconcilable differences.”

Chances are at least one of the two parties in the divorce has been deeply hurt by the other and often I see the hurt party’s decision-making process become clouded by their pain and anger which then becomes the fuel for a long, expensive, and drawn out process in dissolving the marriage—one where nobody wins except the lawyers.

If you are thinking of a divorce or beginning the proceedings you need to know all of your options. Sometimes it is a good thing to fight in court and other times it serves everyone best if you engage in the “supreme art of war” and “subdue the enemy without fighting,” as Sun Tzu so wisely put it.

Mediation is becoming a popular way to obtain a divorce. A specially trainedmatrimonial attorney or psychologist is hired as a mediator who will work with the two parties to direct them away from the hurt of the present and toward a peaceful resolution. Mediation can be as much as ten times lessexpensive than fighting in court, can take as little as eight to twelve hours, and prevents people from doing things to hurt each other over a long period of time prolonging the anguish of divorce.

You can also instruct your lawyer to negotiate with your soon-to-be-ex spouse’s lawyer, invariably keeping both parties out of court—an option that is also less expensive than a fight at the courthouse. The idea here is to work as fast as possible toward a resolution of compromise.

But when do you fight and when do you find a way to get mediation or negotiate? Though each divorce brings a unique set of circumstances, below is a list of a few scenarios that might help you make a decision about when it’s appropriate to instruct your lawyer to go to battle for you.

When to Fight:

  • If there is abuse involved with either the spouse, the children, or both.
  • If one party is refusing to fulfill their obligation to help pay their portion of the mortgage.
  • If one party is refusing to fulfill their familial obligation to pay for their minor child or children’s expenses.
  • Gratuitousirresponsible spending of the marital assets by one or both parties.
  • If financial dishonesty is involved or suspected by one or both parties.

These, of course, are only a few scenarios but if you have any questions as to the choice you are thinking of making, please feel free to call me at (646) 663-4546, and I’d be happy to advise or help you fight or negotiate the outcome you are looking for. I’m Lois Brenner and I will always help you achieve the future you deserve.