Is Divorce Really a Legal Problem?

At the end of the divorce process, you end up with a legal agreement which is filed with the Court and can be enforced through the Court system, this does not mean that the divorce process needs to be a legal battle – unless you want to make it one.

Divorce is a life transition issue.  If you can agree on all the issues you need to agree on, and stick to your agreement, you don’t need to get involved in the legal system at all (except to file your agreement with the Court).

Most of the issues that need to be agreed on are practical issues.

  • How will you co-parent your children?
  • How will you divide your assets and liabilities?
  • How will you provide financial support to the lower earning spouse to help him/her become economically self sufficient?
  • How will you each provide financial support for your children (ie child support)?
  • What will you do with the marital home?

Many people are able to make these decisions with some guidance and support from professionals. They do not need, or want, a third party (the Court) to make their decisions for them.

The law is there to tell judges and magistrates how to make decisions when you cannot make them for yourself.  Thus, attorneys need to know the law so they can argue your case in front of them, and also guess how a judge or magistrate will apply the law to your particular situation.   If you both agree on the issues, you can decide what you want to decide without court involvement as long as it is in the best interest of your children and the agreement you come up with is not “unconscionable”.

Sometimes there is a power imbalance between the parties or one of the parties is not able to fully participate in the decision-making conversations.  In these cases, having collaborative attorneys assist with the negotiations can help you get agreements that will be fair and work for you both.

Of course, if you are trying to punish the other person, the other person is just unreasonable and will not compromise, or if there is not full disclosure of all the information, then you may not have any choice but to use the Court system.