Clarus Law

Court Divorce:

Family Law & Mediation

As an experienced divorce lawyer and mediator, Cynthia Todd, understands that not every case is suitable for a mediated divorce or collaborative divorce. 

What is a traditional, litigated court divorce?
In a traditional court divorce, a case is handled and resolved in the court system.  The clients are unable to agree on how to resolve the issues raised in their divorce.  This means that the judge must issue orders to decide all disputed issues in the case.   

A few characteristics of the litigated court divorce:

  • Adversarial process where one person “wins” and the other “loses”:  Each person’s goal is to win at the expense of the other.  Attorneys tend to stake extreme positions, each working hard to prevail. 
  • Lack of communication with the decision maker:  The attorneys and judge are the main actors.  The attorneys are responsible for strategizing and conveying the parties’ positions to the judge.  The parties do not directly speak to the judge. 
  • Decision maker’s limited resources:  The judge makes all decisions in the case based on what he is told by the lawyers, within the bounds of the governing law and procedural rules.  The judge may have limited resources and time.  Legal standards are subject to change and interpretation, depending on the judge.
  • Everything personal becomes public:  In a traditional court divorce, hearings are open to the public, and all documents that are filed are available to the public.
  • Slow and expensive:  The traditional, litigated court divorce is typically the most time-consuming and expensive divorce process.  As just one example of how costs can quickly rise, when a hearing in your case is scheduled, it is typically set for the same time as hearings in many other cases.  This means that you and your attorney will spend time (and money) waiting at court for your case to be heard.
  • No control over the outcome:  Unlike the mediated divorce or collaborative process, the client has no control over the outcome.  The judge, a well-intentioned stranger, decides the best outcome for you and your children.

Is a traditional, litigated court divorce right for me?
Cases that may be best suited for a traditional or litigated divorce are those in which a judge is needed to decide your case.  For example, a court divorce may be needed if your spouse is unwilling or incapable of negotiating in the best interest of the children or in a manner that takes into account your interests.