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Ways to evaluate divorce mediation or litigation options

Should I stay or should I go? Readers might recognize that phrase as a song lyric. In the context of divorce, it aptly refers to the difficulty in deciding which issues to fight or settle.

As a divorce attorney knows, there might be more to the answer than just money. For example, when children are involved, a parent may not what the kids to be exposed to any more fighting. In litigation, unfortunately, kids might be called as witnesses to help a court resolved disputed issues of child support or custody.

On the other hand, a settlement may be financially prudent if a disputed issue is not worth the legal fees it would cost to go to court. Yet even making such a cost-benefit analysis may require the assistance of an attorney.

For example, an individual may be relying on information provided by the spouse about financial accounts and property valuations. Without an attorney’s careful eye, an individual may not realize that an independent valuation or second opinion might reveal discrepancies.

Divorce attorneys regularly collaborate with forensic accountants, valuation experts, and financial experts and appraisers to prepare a detailed and accurate inventory of the marital estate. Attorneys also are familiar with tools for obtaining information from an unhelpful spouse. Discovery tools like written discovery exchanges and subpoenas are a mainstay of litigation. At a minimum, simply being presented with such requests from an experienced divorce attorney may encourage more forthright disclosures from the other spouse. An attorney can help protect an individuals' interests and spot any problem areas.

Source: The New York Times, “California Pioneers the Court-Aided One-Day Divorce,” Ann Carrns, June 6, 2014

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