The current culture of divorce in the United States paints litigation as the one and only avenue available to divorcing couples. While divorce litigation has a toxic and negative reputation, many lawyers continue to encourage the process. Instead of working together, the participants take adversarial roles from day one, similar to a boxing match, with each party seeking to dominate the other. Fortunately, there are alternatives. If you’re considering entering the divorce process, this is an episode you don’t want to miss.
In this episode of Divorce, Healthy! attorney and author Ashley-Nicole Russell, of ANR Law, leads a discussion with Ben McLawhorn of McLawhorn and Russell. Using examples of typical cases, Ashley-Nicole and Ben examine the divorce process through the lenses of the collaborative and litigation approaches.
In doing so, they highlight the disadvantages and unique complications presented by litigation, including negativity and toxicity. This negative and adversarial relationship creates a toxic environment that is likely to affect the children involved. Additionally, litigation is often drawn out and expensive, potentially plunging couples into debt and financial plight that may linger long after the ink of the divorce is dry. This doesn’t even account for the mental health impacts on the couple of an adversarial approach. With these concerns in mind, you must be thinking “there has to be a better way.” There is.
Ashley-Nicole and Ben encourage a collaborative approach involving alternative dispute resolution (ADR) or mediation. While the prevailing culture can make litigation feel like your only recourse, it’s possible to engage in an amicable process that respects the needs and concerns of each party. Working together to solve the problem is faster, easier, less expensive, and infinitely better for your mental health than brining your grievances before the court.
Ben also stresses the importance of finding the right attorney, one that has your best interests at heart and can be a strong advocate for you and with you. Your attorney should take the time to explain the process and ensure you have a thorough understanding before asking you to make decisions that will affect the rest of your life. While sometime a court battle is necessary, be wary of an attorney that’s looking for a fight.
Links mentioned in the episode
To inquire about speaking engagements, purchase your copy of Ashley-Nicole’s book “The Cure for Divorce Culture,” or to schedule your private orientation meeting, head to www.anrlaw.com. You can also find us on social media @ANRLaw. Find a better way forward, right here, on Divorce, Healthy!