|By Roy N. Martin, Attorney at Law Published: Sep 01, 2005|
Litigation is expensive. An attorney will typically spend an average of two to three hours preparing for every hour in court. In addition, pre-trial discovery (such as depositions, interrogatories, requests for production of documents, etc.) add to the expense. It is in your financial interest to resolve cases through negotiation when a high quality result can be obtained in this way. Those negotiations can occur in the form of discussions between spouses, Mediation, Collaborative Divorce, settlement conferences between attorneys in traditional cases, or formal court-ordered settlement hearings.
The Emotional Price of Litigation
In addition to the obvious financial cost of litigation, there are emotional costs as well. Many people going through divorce experience anger, resentment, grief, rage, sadness, guilt and other complex feelings. It’s difficult to cope with all of this while also attempting to make rational decisions about your case. Letting your emotions drive litigation can be extremely (and unnecessarily) expensive.
Consider the Costs
A spouse seeking to punish the other punishes himself too. Consider what such revenge costs, both in dollars expended and in time wasted – often months or years that could have been better invested in recovery and getting on with your life. A contentious divorce impacts everyone – children most of all. Emotion-driven litigation that is aimed at punishing the other spouse will almost certainly cause great harm to you and your children.
The Attorney’s Job
Part of your attorney’s job is to help you determine what is in your best interest and the best interest of your children. In some cases, a lengthy legal battle may be necessary to protect your children and/or your financial interests. If so, the decision to litigate should be based on the facts of your case. Litigation should never be driven by the emotions (normal and understandable though they may be) related to divorce. Alternatively, issues can often be resolved through non-adversarial means, such as Mediation or Collaborative Divorce. The attorney’s goal should be to help you achieve a high quality, lasting resolution of all issues with the lowest possible expenditure of emotional and financial resources.