Thursday, November 17, 2005

Good Divorce?

I am on my lawyer soapbox. (only information, not advice, you should contact a lawyer if you have a legal problem):
Custody is court determination of what is best for children.
Parenting is deciding between two people who cannot live together anymore, what is best for their children. Sometimes, divorcing parents dont know that a court doesnt have to determine custody. An agreement about custody, visitation and support issues can form the basis of an Agreed Order and easier transition for everyone involved. The people who win in divorce battles- lawyers (and thank you).

Good divorces appear to be moving into the mainstream. Uproar over recent studies and books confirm what most children of divorce know- no such thing as a good divorce.

Lets be honest, people are still going to get divorced, amicable separation and divorce is preferred. I hear many folks say they are not themselves upon separation, it is an inherently selfish, introspective time (I suspect). Children/dogs/houses/401(k)'s become the next battleground for the fighting couple.

However, if the spouses can agree not to do anything crazy (a big if) there is a possibility of agreement on even the most contentious issues. Seek advice from an attorney (I am always grateful when an adverse has made such a consultation). Friends who are not family law attorneys are not good sources of advice, the law changes rapidly. Hopefully the attorney will provide a realistic assessment of the situation, be wary of an attorney who tells you things that seem too good to be true (not that there are any of us like that).

Negotiations are a back and forth; if at first you dont succeed, dont close the door to further negotiations. Also, you cant have everything. Virginia is an equitable distribution state. No matter what you think of your case, a court may not and probably will not see it entirely your way (no matter how terrific, expensive your attorney is).

There are some awful situations out there so clearly this is simply my opinion, not legal advice. Your situation may or may not be conducive to negotiation/mediation.

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