When I meet with someone who needs help with a divorce, one of the first things I often hear is that the person believes that most aspects of the divorce either are, or will be, agreed, and they do not want to turn this into a fighting match between attorneys. Sometimes it turns out not to be the case, but many times the person is right — much is already agreed. Unfortunately, the traditional legal system that we use to dissolve marriages tends to encourage differences and disagreements, and what starts out as agreed can quickly come undone. This is because in litigation, each party, and their respective interests, is generally framed as opposed to the other, when in reality they often share the desire to peacefully and cheaply finalize the decision they have made to legally end their marriage.
It may be surprising to those unfamiliar with the divorce process — and in my experience most people are — that there are many divorce attorneys who are willing to work with them — either through mediation, collaborative law, or helping them to arrive at agreed documents. Many have heard the horror stories of divorces experienced by family members, coworkers, or friends, and they know they want to avoid that, but are not sure how.
The best advice I can give to someone about to enter the process of divorce? Meet early on with an attorney that regularly practices mediation, collaborative law, and helping people with agreed divorces, and be clear about goals. Despite the negative stories of divorce, many attorneys can actually help people navigate the process to dissolve the marriage as peacefully and economically as possible.