Clients are daunted by the length of time that the entire separation and divorce process will take. Often, the determinant factor is whether their matter is amicable or adversarial. Generally, if their matter is amicable, and they are willing to negotiate specific terms of their separation through their lawyers, they can both agree to have a Separation Agreement prepared and reviewed inclusive of all aspects of the separation explained in this article. However, if the process is deemed adversarial and tensioned, then clients may be racking up high legal bills in order to promote their side of the story in court, and these legal fees can include court appearances, court mediations, drafting of pleadings, requests for disclosure, valuators and so on.
The lawyer can advise the client towards a more cost-effective resolution if he/she will be able to offer the client various creative solutions which can provide certainty and finality for clients desiring efficient separation and divorce processes.
Lawyers can usually suggest mediation to clients if they can see that both parties have an equal bargaining power and that there is no power imbalance. Often, mediation can yield a very honest conversation between the parties which can promote a mutually beneficial resolution, often reducing greatly the stress associated with court as well as some of its heavy fees. Arbitration is certainly a useful tool as it promotes privacy from the court process and often yields a timely decision by the arbitrator. However, this process can be more costly and generally cannot be appealed unless the parties have explicitly agreed to it beforehand.
Lawyers are bound by the Law Society Rules of Professional Conduct as well as the Family Law Rules which promote collaboration and cooperation in family law matters as these are sensitive, emotional and often involve children. Competent lawyers will guide their clients through a collaborative approach which can yield timely, efficient, and more fair results if both parties are correctly advised in the spirit of just and reasonable outcomes for the family as a whole, which is a legislative goal when it comes to divorce proceedings.
NOTE: This article has been written for general information purposes only and does NOT constitute legal advice. For further questions and/or legal advice please consult a qualified lawyer.