Resolving Separation & Divorce Issues
The decision to separate is a complex one for many people, and it is often only the beginning of navigating a sea of emotional, financial, and legal concerns about family property, income, and the care for children.
HOW exactly will these issues be resolved? The answer is that resolution will likely entail many different processes. At polar extremes are informally negotiated agreements between the parties and court involvement lasting many years. In reality family law cases commonly involve many different approaches.
An informally negotiated separation agreement and property settlement typically requires a separating couple, on relatively good terms, with equal knowledge and power within the marital relationship. In these circumstances parties can frequently agree about the distribution of property, the custody of children, matters of child and spousal support, and other issues arising from their separation and divorce. This is a private contract which should be created using the counsel of educated attorneys. One attorney works on behalf of one of the parties. It is highly recommended that the other party be represented by counsel as well.
Sometimes parties will attempt to enter into an amicable agreement, only to find that what had seemed clearly resolved became not so clearly resolved when drafting of the agreement was attempted. It is quite common for attorneys, acting on behalf of their clients, to negotiate further, with the same end goal – a comprehensive private agreement resolving all marital issues.
When negotiation of some, or all, elements fails, one or both parties may file claims seeking the assistance of the court. The lawsuit will likely contain claims pertaining to the separated parties’ legal rights – commonly seen are “Equitable Distribution” (property distribution), child custody, child support, alimony, and attorneys fees reimbursement. As the parties progress through the court system, they will be subject to local rules requiring mediation for many of these prior to going to court. A very large percentage of cases actually do resolve in mediation, saving the parties and the court system time and money.
At many points in their journey towards a trial, the parties can agree to alternative methods of resolution. Collaborative Law and arbitration, two methods of alternative dispute resolution, can formally remove the issues from the court process and allow other, more private and controllable, avenues for orders and agreements to be obtained without going to court.
At some point in time, however, it may be necessary to seek the assistance of a judge to make a decision or to use the power of the court to enforce an order. Although court can be time consuming and expensive, it is available for those matters which cannot settle, and will provide finality (absent an appeal) allowing the parties to move forward.
At Garrett, Walker, Aycoth & Olson, Attorneys at Law our family law attorneys our devoted to helping our clients navigate the often complicated and emotionally taxing waters for separation and divorce. Contact our top rated divorce lawyers in Greensboro, NC today if you or someone you know is in need of a family law specialist to help them today.