How Divorce Cases and Civil Cases Differ/Martin Rosenfeld, JD

Posted on March 9, 2016

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Randy Kessler is a divorce attorney in Atlanta, Georgia. He recently wrote an article on divorce and the special treatment it needs from the judicial system. His article can be found at: http://atlantajewishtimes.com/2016/02/can-we-do-divorce-better/

Attorney Kessler points out something that appears to be counter-intuitive to some. In a civil case, the parties will never need to see each other again, in most instances. In point of fact, the ill-will created by the litigation almost guarantees such an outcome. Neither party will likely feel that this is a loss to them. However, parties in a divorce will need to communicate even after the divorce if they share children, property, communal affiliations, etc. The Court system needs to take that into account and make the divorce process less hostile and less confrontational. The parties enter the divorce process “already in trouble”. The enmity and disappointment has already built up in many cases. What can courts do in such an atmosphere of mistrust? It needs to encourage more mediation, more therapy and more negotiation.

Attorney Kessler reminds us that the words expressed in divorce proceedings will redound forever. If you never need to see the opposing party again, or work with them in life, such a prospect will not trouble many individuals. But in divorce, the long-term picture needs to be considered. Winning at all costs may be a favorable outcome in a civil dispute. It is not a goal that will ultimately help either party in the great majority of contested divorce matters. The answer as pointed out by Attorney Kessler is to encourage “more mediation, more therapy, and more negotiation”. The goal of mediation is Win-Win. It is the best reason to pursue mediation. Mediate don’t litigate.

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