The traditional method of divorce is the litigation or "versus" method of divorce. Both parties retain lawyers who will provide legal advise to his or her client and advocate the position of their client in negotiations and court hearings. Negotiation occurs in the context of the legal adversarial system, and the parties and lawyers retain the option of turning to the court as a decision maker if a resolution cannot be reached by the parties on all issues. The parties generally communicate through their attorneys regarding their positions, proposals and counter-proposals. Most negotiations occur within the confines of statutory and case law precedent and legal formulas and against the backdrop of court intervention.
The lawyer negotiations/litigation process may involve the use of formal legal procedures, known as "discovery" to obatin financial and other relevant information. Discovery may include the use of depositions (a formal taking of testimony outside of the courtroom in the presence of a court reporter), interrogatories (answering lists of questions in writing under oath), and the subpoenaing of documents or other materials believed to be relevant to the issues. Further, each party may hire experts to support their positions. In some jurisdictions in cases with child custody or placement issues, the court will appoint a "Guardian ad Litem" (a lawyer) to represent and recommend to the court what is in the best interests of any minor child. Ultimately, if agreements are not reached, parties and other witnesses testify before a judge, who makes a ruling on each disputed issue. If either party is dissatisfied with the final court decision, they have the right to ask the court to reconsider its decision and to take an appeal of the final ruling to a higher court. Most litigation cases are eventually settled. Over 98% of all divorces cases are resolved short of trial. Unfortunately, settlement often occurs after substantial time, money and emotions have been spent in the legal conflict. Further, one or both parties may be dissatisfied with the court outcome, and they are then likely to appeal the judgment or return to court in the future to argue for modification of specific orders. In cases involving custody and placement of children, or payment of child or spousal support, parties frequently return to court after the initial determination to seek modification of those terms in ongoing post-judgment litigation.
At Kaehne, Cottle, Pasquale & Associates, S.C., we strive to meet the needs of our clients while keeping the costs down as much as possible. Call us today at (920) 459-8490 for your free telephone or in-person initial consultation to speak with a divorce/family law attorney about your legal matters.