If you’ve recently found out that your spouse has spent all the money, or that there’s “someone else,” let me first say: I know this is likely a very painful time for you. If you’ve decided to pursue a separation, you are not alone. Financial misconduct and adultery are two of the most common causes of a breakdown of a marriage. It may seem like a contradiction, but I’ve helped many couples resolve their divorces outside of court when adultery or bad behavior was involved. You may be asking:
If my spouse did me wrong, shouldn’t I take them to court to make sure I get a fair deal?
One of my most oft-repeated phrases in meetings with my clients is that there is no such thing as “fair” in divorce. I know that to be true based upon my years of training and experience in both traditional divorce litigation and collaborative divorce.
Suit or Settle?
Traditional litigation involves filing a lawsuit filled with allegations, going to court, gathering evidence, taking the witness stand, and so forth. Collaborative divorce is different. It’s a completely voluntary process where the attorneys and spouses work together as a team to separate assets and reach a resolution on difficult issues like parenting time, child support, alimony, and the like. Work together? A team? It may sound improbable. But it works.
If you commit to a collaborative divorce, it’s not just a promise to play nice. The collaborative process requires a legally binding contract requiring both sides to be transparent and act in good faith to resolve all pertinent issues. That contract helps keep you focused on the end goal: resolution.
The Money Factor
You or your spouse may be resistant to the idea of collaborative divorce. I understand. However, a court battle will most likely be emotionally and financially devastating. Litigating your divorce also places the outcome in someone else’s hands. A judge will take different factors into account when deciding what assets are left, who will get them, and how much time each parent will spend with their children.
That kind of a resolution may be difficult to accept. However, if you and your spouse can both work together for a greater good, the divorce will be in your hands. You both can decide what’s best for your family going forward – and doing so collaboratively is generally more cost-effective than litigation. This financial component is what gives many of my clients the incentive to resolve their divorces outside of the courtroom.
When adultery is involved, divorce can get ugly. In North Carolina, spouses can and do sue the “other” man or woman. Keeping your divorce out of court can protect both spouses from the pain and humiliation of spelling out all the details at trial. In my experience, working collaboratively can help both spouses transition into separation and divorce more peaceably and privately. I’ve represented spouses in contested litigation for years and now help couples stay out of court entirely – often when there is marital misconduct involved. I can tell you that collaborative divorce is possible and worth considering, even in these difficult circumstances.
Collaborative divorce attorneys like me are specifically trained in the collaborative process. I’ve been practicing exclusively in this area for several years now and I can tell you that it’s an ideal fit for many families.
If you’re ready to divorce differently, call us and set up a consultation. We’d love to help.
Lindsey Dasher is the Managing Partner at Dasher Law PLLC