Only on rare occasions does anyone besides attorneys win when going to court. Do not get me wrong, there are family law cases out there that really do not have a choice but to go to court (the most common is because one party is being so unreasonable that the other party should not settle).
Abuse in marriage
Divorce is always difficult, and not just on those directly involved, but also to family, friends, and all aspects of life. Add abuse to the situation and it becomes even more difficult.
Recognizing and getting out of the nightmare takes tremendous courage. Filing for separation or divorce is a heroic feat for an abused spouse, as the risk of retaliation is great. Typically intimidation and violence escalates. Sometimes a protective order is needed. If there are kids involved, it can become really ugly, especially when the abuser sees the kids as an entitlement.
Then there’s the task of tediously dividing everything acquired during the marriage. A daunting task even for level-headed people. It demands transparency, compromise, integrity and restraint. Not qualities you find in an abuser. When a marriage is abusive, the power balance is so skewed that it may not be safe or productive to even have the couple in the same room, let alone discuss a compromise.
When parents of minor children separate, it is difficult on everyone, especially children. When it comes to deciding custody, some parents want their children to testify in court. This can cause greater strain on the child’s well-being.
Before deciding to have your child or children testify in court, it’s important to know that the court system provides multiple services such as a custody evaluator (a license social worker who meets with the parties, the children, visits the homes, if in the county where the case is being held and provides the court with a report and recommendation). There is no charge for this service. The Court can also appoint a best interest attorney and/or privilege attorney (an attorney who advocates on behalf of what he or she believes is in the best interest of the children). The parties generally divide the cost equally or pro-rate their incomes for a best interest attorney or privilege attorney. There are factors the court considers when determining whether a case warrants either attorney. Best Interest attorneys can become very expensive.
If you are currently going through a divorce or a custody battle, have you thought about what YOUR best case scenerio would be? How about your worst case scenerio?
Generally, attorneys cannot promise or guarantee an outcome, but they can provide you with insight regarding the most likely best case and worst case scenarios. In addition, attorneys can tell you what the court can and cannot do.
In my opinion, every attorney should advise their clients to understand their own best case and worst case scenario, as well as, what the court can and cannot do. These situations can change throughout the separation process due to new facts that may not have been divulged previously. As such, whenever new information becomes known to you, you should have a conversation with your attorney to determine whether these new facts change your best case or worst case scenarios.
In my experience the clients who visualize the worst case scenario make their current situation easier and also allows them to make more rational decisions, in turn, creating a greater likelihood for settlement to happen.