In the current health crisis, families across the country are facing plenty of challenges. If divorce is on your horizon, you might wonder if it can even be done. Are courts open? Are lawyers even working? We are, and not only is it possible to get divorced now, it might be a great time, especially if you take the collaborative route. Here’s why:
- The Courts. In many jurisdictions, courts are shut down or limited for all but emergency proceedings. This means that your best bet of getting this done is settlement. Courts are accepting agreed orders. The collaborative process is in YOUR hands. It can be done remotely to get you to an agreement
- The Lawyers. There are lots of different types of lawyers. There are pitbull litigators, always in court, navigating the system to get your requested relief and crush the opposing side. On the other side are collaborative law attorneys, focusing on the entire family and trying to achieve divorce without burning bridges or hurting kids. We are less glamorous and more measured. We are practical instead of theatrical. Collaborative attorneys are experts at trying to find creative ways to reach agreements. THAT is the kind of attorney you need now. A litigator doesn’t have the experience and tools needed to create a crafted, delicate agreement. It isn’t in their nature or skillset. So, don’t be fooled by litigators claiming they can do “collaborative-light” or “collaborative-ish.”
- Cost. The entire economy is taking a hit. People are filing for unemployment in record numbers. With a recession looming, prospects of new jobs “after all this” are uncertain. Nobody knows when “after all this” will be. In litigation, cost balloons as the case escalates. The litigation fuels the escalation and vice versa. In collaborative law, the entire process is controlled by the parties. They can invest in a longer process or settle it quickly.
- Your Well-being. This is a stressful time. People are on lockdown, trapped in their homes. Schools closed. Financial pressures mounting. Many are out of a job. Those lucky enough to have jobs are either adjusting to working from home or risking themselves by going to work. We are separated from loved ones. The last thing anyone needs right now is the trauma of a savagely contested divorce case. Litigation pits a couple against each other. If you are living in the same space or trying to co-parent, litigation would be a nightmare right now. Collaborative law is a gentler, more compassionate, and loving option.
- Timing. Texas has a 60-day waiting period before it allows divorce. Once the courts reopen, they will also have an incredible backlog of cases. If you are expecting to file for divorce “once this is over” and then get it finished quickly…think again. You can use the quarantine time to think deeply about what you need, gather documents, and do a lot of the background legwork.
So, if divorce is where your family is at, do it the collaborative way: by looking at this time as an opportunity. It is an opportunity to spend quarantine investing your time and energy to create the framework for a healthier family structure.