By James S. Margulis, Esq.
Divorce Corp. takes a painful look at the way divorce is typically handled in the US. The documentary uses interviews with lawyers, judges, custody evaluators and victims of the system, to introduce viewers to the complex workings of the money-making machine that is Family Court.
- The average cost of a divorce in the US is $50,000.
- A $50 billion a year industry.
- More money passes through family law court than all other U.S. courts combined.
- Judges can and do rule however they prefer. This could mean denying a fit parent access to his/her child(ren), ordering the liquidation of assets to satisfy court costs or jail time.
- In the past 20 years, court-ordered support payments have increased 30% while the divorce rate has decreased and women are earning more money.
Is everything in Divorce Corp. suggestive of how litigation works in every case? Of course not, but it does illustrate that when you go to court you take your chances. Are the judges biased? Are they corrupt? Probably not, but you never know. How about your child custody evaluator? Do they really have the best interests of the child(ren) or are they working in favor of the parent who hired them? You really just don't know, and you won't find out until after the fact.
There are alternatives to the traditional or litigated divorce. Most often parties mediate their divorce case. In Colorado, most courts order that the parties attend mediation in order to attempt to resolve some or all the issues in their case. It is important during mediation to have attorney's present while parties can mediate the agreement themselves it help to have attorneys to expedite the process and explain what agreements are reasonable. It is also most important that the parties go into mediation with open minds and are willing to compromise. Failure to compromise typically results in the parties paying expensive attorneys fee, and allowing for the judge to make decisions regarding their family rather than themselves. It's important to remember that you and your spouse know your situation best and if you are willing to compromise, your will be much better suited to arrange an agreement than a judge.
However, not all cases are usually as dramatic as the cases shown in the documentary, but even the simplest divorce is traumatic enough without the added stress of court, especially when you add the built-in financial stress of the divorce -- dividing your assets – and paying attorney's fees.
If you are thinking about getting a divorce or are currently dealing with a divorce matter in Colorado, contact the Domestic Team at Feldmann Nagel Cantafio & Song PLLC for all of your family law needs.