Divorce Does Not Have To Ruin Your Life
When people hear the word divorce they usually envision a full out war. They picture an embarrassing trial, years of court and giant legal bill. The reality is, only 1-2% of divorces I see end this way. The vast majority of my cases are settled amicably and relatively quickly. When I tell prospective clients this fact, I often get the response “well we are very angry” or “he/she is totally unreasonable.” I then explain that it is very common for angry spouses to come to reach a full settlement.
In fact, it is very rare for the divorcing spouses to be on speaking terms by the time they hire their divorce attorneys, they are getting divorced for a reason after all. However, attorneys that are skilled in effective mediation practices and other alternative dispute resolution (ADR) techniques, such as collaborative law, are well equipped to help the parties reach a settlement, even in the ugliest of cases.
Sometimes, a spouse is so angry that they are motivated to drag out the divorce process to punish their significant other. I strongly advise against this. Although you may in fact punish your soon-to-be-ex you are punishing yourself as well in the process.
There is often a misconception that the court is going to reprimand the unfaithful spouse and “right” the wronged party. This is very rarely the case. In most divorce cases there is infidelity. However, in New Hampshire, a fault ground, such as adultery, needs to be proven and also shown to have led to the breakdown of the marriage.
Fault grounds are difficult to prove and even in cases where your attorney has successfully proven fault grounds, it rarely makes a difference in the court’s overall order. This is because New Hampshire law requires a family court judge to divide the parties’ marital estate “equitably” and a 50/50 division is considered equitable absent extraordinary circumstances. Also, New Hampshire law presumes that a child’s interests are best served when he or she has frequent and consistent contacts with both parents. As a result, the majority of the cases that go to trial on parenting disputes result in parenting time (custody) evenly divided between the parents.
So, if your marital estate is very likely going to be divided down the middle, and both parents are going to be awarded approximately equal time with the children, why go to court? Unless it is a case of domestic violence or a case where the other side’s proposal is a stark deviation from the law, you do not need to. You will save yourself a significant amount of stress and money by reaching an agreement. Assuming that you have a lawyer trained in ADR methods, you should be able to settle your case, no matter how much you dislike the other person.