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Nine Ways to Stay Out of Court in 2009

9. Before taking any legal action, communicate with your spouse.

8. See if the marriage can be saved through counseling.

7. Try to resolve as many issues as possible, first of all through mediation, or using the collaborative process, which is where you each have independent attorneys, but you do not file until everything is settled. There is an article on collaborative law elsewhere on this site that explains the collaborative process in more detail, but it is a win-win situation for everyone.

6. Even if you have filed and are using the traditional legal process, make sure that your attorney communicates. Make sure the court appearances are a last resort, not a first resort. 

5. Look at the economics and do a cost analysis so that before you go to court, you can weigh the costs financially and emotionally and see if there is a way to resolve issues without going to court.

4. Problem solve. Lay out issues in a clear and concise manner. Find out if there are certain issue that are more important than others, and prioritize. Look at ways to resolve problems. A good attorney is a problem solver, not a problem creator.

3. Make sure your attorney has your best interests at heart, and is not just looking to collect a fee. There are so many cases where a scorched-earth policy is used by attorneys not to help you, not to minimize costs, but to create more acrimony and greater costs. This is why it is important to stay out of court as much as possible.

2. Be careful when you talk to friends or relatives. Everyone tells you that this should be done, or that should be done, and there is a lot of sideline quarterbacking that goes on in every divorce. Make sure that you consult your attorney on a step-by-step basis as these issues arise. Try not to panic. 

1. Have an attorney who communicates, who has your best interests at heart, and will educate you bearing in mind that knowledge is power. Here at Family Law of Michigan, our goal is to solve problems not create others. Our firm motto is, “Simple Solutions to Complex Family Law Problems”. Whether it’s a divorce, child custody matter, or other legal family law situation, our goal is to keep you out of court and utilize court as a last resort.