Your Family, Your Choices

Your Family, Your Choices

Families are more diverse today with less focus on their structure and more emphasis on function and purpose.  The primary role of a family is to take care of and love each other.   If your thinking of making a change in your family dynamic with a divorce, separation, or breaking up with your child’s father or mother, below are a few things to keep in mind.

Your Future Family

If you have children from the relationship, the family will still exist after the relationship ends.  How you end the relationship, to a large part, determines whether your family will be functional or dysfunctional in the future.  What parents do, say, and how they act toward the other parent, has long-term consequences.

If you don’t have children, you may still have future dealings with your ex-spouse after a divorce, which may impact your relationship or re-marriage with a new partner.  The way you conduct yourself in your divorce will have meaning later on.

Your Family Law Attorney

The selection of an attorney is one of the most significant factors determining how your case will proceed.  Look for competency, the attorney’s personality, overall philosophy, and accessibility.  Who you retain as your attorney and the method or process of divorce is paramount in easing the transition.

Your Divorce Process

When people think of divorce, they think of litigation, but this should be used as a last resort.  Other available processes are:  negotiation, mediation, collaborative divorce, arbitration, and a combination depending upon the issues involved.  There is no “one-size-fits-all” solution and each situation is unique.

Below Are Some Processes to Consider

  • Negotiating a reasonable and equitable settlement via a family law attorney.  The vast majority of clients would like to avoid an emotionally and financially expensive trial.  This is an understandable goal.  It is not an enjoyable experience to have to testify in court or see family members and loved ones testify.  Most parties would also prefer not to spend hard-earned money on litigation.  Try to resolve family law matters in a process that is designed to reduce the level of conflict and rebuild trust.
  • Litigation is an adversarial process in which both parties play to “win.”  An unfortunate byproduct of litigation is that it intensifies the level of conflict and increases distrust.  Your attorney should prepare to go to court, but try to reach an agreement first.
  • Mediation involves a “mediator” or neutral third party, with family law experience.  The mediator tries to resolve the issues in your divorce.  You and your spouse make the decisions with the aid of a mediator, who assists with your communication with each other, in an effort to reach an agreement.
  • Collaborative divorce is an interdisciplinary team approach.  In addition to the parties themselves, the team may consist of an attorney, accountant, child psychologist, plus any other professionals required in the case.

Make It Count

Ultimately, only you and your spouse will make the decisions that will determine what you and your family will look like after the divorce.  The family will still exist after the relationship ends and how you end the relationship counts.

Ana Barsegian focuses exclusively on family law in the areas of divorce, legal separation, paternity & child custody, and other domestic relations issues.  She strives to bring peace and stability back to families and individuals.  Ms. Barsegian will work with you to select the process that is suitable for your case.