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Simplifying Complex Divorce - Feinberg & Waller

"Divorce is a very difficult process. What makes it difficult is two human beings, usually human beings who used to love each other very much, now not so much. Sometimes they hate each other, sometimes only one hates the other. Maybe a spouse has cheated on the other spouse and we've got feelings of guilt and feelings of anger and feelings of hostility and that creates a high conflict divorce. Maybe you're involved in a very ugly custody battle, fighting over your children, high conflict. How do you simplify that? It is almost impossible to simplify that without the cooperation of both parties and that takes a lot to achieve, but the good news is that divorce is a process and it does take some time.

Over time you and your spouse are going to be exposed to the emotional drain and the financial drain associated with constantly fighting with each other over and over again. And ideally, you will each have consulted with experienced, competent skilled family law attorneys who have a lot of experience dealing with high conflict cases and in that context, that counsel, hopefully, can steer you to other professionals. Mental health professionals. marriage counselors, child custody evaluators. Take every opportunity to pull the emotions out of the process so that the two of you can see this for what it is. It's the dissolution of a marriage, the dissolution of a partnership. You are trying to create a scenario where you can both go on your separate ways as intact human beings. That is going to require respect, patience, and a willingness to compromise. Settlement is not you doing what I say and there we've settled. Settlement is me giving up and you giving up and we meet in the middle. You have to get to that place in order to simplify and make your high conflict case capable of being resolved without going to battle in court. A lot of people really resent the suggestion that they have to see a counselor or that they should see a counselor because they say there is nothing wrong with me, it is all his fault, or it's all her fault. What do we do in that situation? That very dynamic calls out for some sort of counseling, some sort of back and forth to help you realize, if what you really want to do is simplify this process so that you can get it over with and move on with your life, this might be one of the steps you consider taking. If not for your help and immediate benefit, for the help and immediate benefit of your spouse. You are trying to work together to work things out and if you start out at each other's throats until you put the guns down, you have a very difficult time coming to a bargain.

Sometimes settlement is simply not possible and an experienced family law attorney who has dealt with high conflict matters will be able to let you know or at least give you guidance when you are at that place. What do you do? How can I possibly settle with someone who is completely unreasonable? The answer to that question is, you may not be able to. That's what the courts are there for, that is what the law is here for. California has a whole system of laws in the family code that basically lays out the roadmap for how divorces will get done, how custody is determined, how visitation is determined, how property is divided. It is all there. If you can't work it out as two civilized people at the bargaining table, then you're going to have to go to court and you're going to have to let the court work it out. Some people are hopeful that if they file in a particular jurisdiction, they'll get a better result. For example, well maybe if I was living in Ventura County I would be able to get a better result than living in Los Angeles County, something like that. The truth of the matter is that is not the case. The law is the law throughout the state of California. The only variation that there may be between Los Angeles County and Ventura County or any other jurisdictional difference within the state, it is going to be a result of particular judicial officers hearing your case. Those people may have their own experiences that they bring to the table and their own sense of what they should do or shouldn't do and there is some leeway in the law. In general, no matter where you are in the state, Los Angeles County, Ventura County, or wherever, the laws are going to be applied the same."

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