The Pitfalls Of Litigation
Litigating a family law matter in Washington should be thought of as your absolute last resort — a massive trap to avoid at all costs. Why? Because initiating litigation is essentially putting your life into someone else’s hands. The judge ruling on your case does not know anything about your case other than what they have read on paper. Nor do they understand the emotions or dynamics at play behind the scenes. The only thing worse is that this reality is just the tip of the iceberg.
Consider this: Throughout the lengthy process of litigation, spanning an average duration of a year, you will find yourself frequently engaged in heated disputes with the very person from whom you seek separation. To make matters even worse, litigation will likely cause you to drain your bank account. Chances are you will pay your attorney by the hour. In addition to this, you may very well need to continuously re-up your retainer deposit.
Every time you argue, you must go to court, which demands more time and effort from your attorney – $1,500 to $2,000 at least, just for us to do motions practice. By the end of the case, not only is there a good possibility you will not have any money left for you or your children because of your own attorney’s fees, but there is a chance you will need to pay the other attorney’s fees on top of that. This decision is made by the court too!
Litigation also triggers emotional trauma for many, especially those who suffer domestic violence. Recalling memories and experiences can be as if you relive them every single time. This will occur several times – in mediation, discovery, and trial if you do not reach an agreement early in your proceeding.
Alternatives To Litigation
In Washington, mediation is mandatory when litigating a divorce case. But, you can reach an agreement with your spouse before filing a divorce. Also, you can go to mediation on your own and settle there. If either of these is the case, you can simply prepare the necessary paperwork and file the divorce as an agreed divorce.
Many go into mediation before they even consider filing, but mediation is still an option for those who do not. Anytime you can agree at mediation, you can finalize your divorce case without going to trial, spending so much money, and reliving episodes from the past. Mediation is a proven success, with conflicts regularly resolved in it.
The best way to fast-track a divorce in Washington is to take advantage of negotiations or subsequent mediation, if negotiations do not prove to be successful initially. Divorce in Washington is structured so that cases, where agreements are reached, can be finalized within just 90 days. If not reached, cases will generally drag out for about a year.
Divorce Resolution: Addressing Child and Spousal Support, Asset Division, and Custody
Peripheral matters surrounding a divorce case do not necessarily have to be resolved simultaneously. While parties involved may reach agreements on certain aspects, disagreements may arise on other issues. In such instances, only the matters in dispute will proceed to trial for resolution.
A client I served some time ago comes to mind. The spouses had been separated for 10 years before filing for divorce. Because of this, they had no assets, liabilities, or spousal maintenance. As a result, these issues were all settled. However, they disagreed on the parenting plan. This issue alone went to trial.
For more information on Litigating A Family Law Matter In Washington, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (425) 276-7390 today.