Regarding The Divorce Process

The Divorce process can be difficult at best, horrible at worst. Most people do not relish going through this process.

Anyone going through divorce should have a trusted friend or a professional counselor that he or she speaks with on a regular basis. This procedure will assist a person to deal with the emotional and psychological issues and problems that arise.

Your Attorney, however, cannot and should not deal with the emotional and psychological issues you will have to deal with. Attorneys are not trained to deal with emotions, though our Clients certainly get emotional through it all. We are counselors at law. What this means is that we counsel you on the best way through the legal system.

I like to compare an Attorney's job to driving a taxi cab. The Attorney drives you through the maze of the legal system. You do not have to do the driving. Leave the driving to the Attorney.

Also the Attorney does not determine the destination, the Client does. For instance if you jumped into a Taxi Cab in Colorado Springs, you do not expect the driver to tell you: "We're headed towards Breckenridge." No, you tell the driver where you want him to drive you. You tell him: "Please take me to Pueblo," or "Please take me to the Colorado Springs Airport." You tell the driver where to go, so to speak.

If you were to fly to Moscow, say, and you desire to see Saint Basil's Cathedral or Lenin's Tomb, you can either figure out yourself how to get there, or you can take a Taxi. The Taxi cab driver knows the various routes to get to where you want to go. You do not. He may suggest the fast route, or he may suggest the scenic route, which will take a lot longer and probably will cost more. Either way the Taxi driver drives you there, and you can sit back in comfort in the back seat and watch the city or countryside go by. You let him do the driving.

The same is true with your Attorney. You sit back, relax, and let him or her drive you through the maze of the legal system.

Most people going through the Divorce Process in Colorado actually start out without an Attorney. We understand why people do this. Most people are afraid of Attorneys. They think the worst of Attorneys. They believe they cannot afford an Attorney. However, if you have anything at stake in your Divorce, such as custody of minor children, or division of major property, such as a valuable pension plan, or lots of debt, or a marital home that needs to be divided or sold and the proceeds divided, you should consider obtaining a skilled and experienced Attorney to take you through the process.

There are three stages of increasing conflict in any divorce.

In the first stage the two Attorneys negotiate with one another with input from both parties. They try to reach an agreement on all issues to the satisfaction of both parties. Each Attorney tries to achieve his or her Client's goals. Each Attorney represents only his or her Client, and does not necessarily seek the best interests of the opposing side. In my opinion it is my job to achieve the best possible outcome for my Client. My Client may wish that I negotiate in a "hard ball" fashion, or he or she may request that I go "soft." I try to achieve the Client's goals, which may include either of these approaches.

The second stage is mediation. Mediation involves using a mediator, who is usually a neutral Attorney, who represents neither side. He instead communicates with both sides in an attempt to achieve a settlement. Each side is usually kept in a different room with his or her own Attorney. The Mediator goes back and forth between the two rooms in an attempt to discover what each side wants, and on what issue each side is willing to compromise. The Mediator will often make suggestions to each side on how to settle the case. The Mediator will also advise parties as to how his or her case will most likely be resolved by a Judge, if the case proceeds to a contested hearing.

The Courts usually require that mediation occur before a contested final orders hearing will take place.

The contested final orders hearing is the third stage in the process. Probably five per cent (5%) or less of all my divorce cases end up in a contested final orders hearing. The reason is that because marriage is a private affair, most people want to keep the divorce private and informal, and resolve it behind closed doors, so to speak.

However, any settlement is written out in a document called a "Separation Agreement." This Separation Agreement is filed with the Court, and becomes "incorporated into the Decree," meaning that it becomes the Order of Court in the case. It will be a permanent record in the Court.

An alternative to a contested final orders hearing is arbitration.

Arbitration can be preferable to the contested hearing, because it is done in a relaxed and informal atmosphere in a separate room from the opposing side and the opposing Attorney. The Client is not subject to cross–examination by opposing Counsel. Throwing mud usually does not happen, or if it does, the Client only hears about it indirectly, so it is not as potent and harmful to the Client's emotional state. Sometimes arbitration can cost less than a contested hearing, even though both parties have to pay the arbitrator. The reason is that neither party has to pay their Attorney as much, because preparation for an arbitration, in my experience, is much less time consuming, than preparation for a contested final orders hearing.