There is no one single tool to use when ending a relationship. Collaboration, mediation, negotiation, litigation – they are all tools in a lawyer’s toolbox. A skilled lawyer will choose the right tool to use at the right time in your divorce.
Many clients come to us wanting an “amicable divorce.” Many separations start amicably, but unforeseen circumstances arise. Often an initial period of good faith starts, but ends. Then, it may be time to use a different approach. As one of my favorite attorneys used to say, “If you get good will, you can give good will.” When good will ends, you must re-assess and choose a different approach if needed.
A skilled family law attorney knows how to “pivot” from one approach to another as the situation demands. If circumstances call for collaborative negotiation, we’ll collaborate. If you can reach a fair agreement through mediation, will send you, fully prepared, to a good mediator, and advise you “from the sidelines.” If circumstances call for hardball litigation and trial, we’ll zealously litigate.
A family lawyer’s tools in divorce exist on a spectrum, not in a vacuum. The key is having the skill and discernment to know what approach to use as each situation arises.