Sept. 2, 2009 – The Family Law Section has developed a brochure, Choosing a Process for Divorce, that educates the public about choosing a process for divorce – mediation, collaboration, lawyer negotiation/litigation, or pro se. The brochure explores each of these options and gives a brief explanation of each process. Choosing a Process for Divorce lays out the typical scenario each process follows and includes brief explanations outlining why different options may be used based on the couple’s specific situation.
Many involved in the family court system are aware of the burgeoning numbers of self-represented parties. Too many pro se decisions are made without sufficient mutual understanding of the legal impact of their agreements or in the context of relationships that are not balanced in knowledge, finances, or decision-making. Family Law Section Past Chair Carlton Stansbury explains that “the Family Law Section Board created this brochure as part of its member outreach and Strategic Plan to help underscore the positive value lawyers can provide in divorce and other family law matters and to educate the public about the process options that are available.” The brochure will be made available to courts and self-help centers at no cost.
The section’s goal, according to Chair Susan A. Hansen, is “to explore ways to encourage parties to obtain legal advice so they can make informed decisions. This will lead to better agreements and reduce the rapidly escalating post-judgment litigation that keeps families in conflict and overburdens courts’ calendars.”
“If you handle divorce cases, helping your clients select the right divorce process for their situation is the first step in making informed choices,” says Stansbury. “Emotions often overwhelm clients when they need to think clearly, and the information you provide at the initial consultation is invaluable and may establish a foundation for the rest of the case. Helping your clients to understand that there are several ways to approach these issues and reach reasonable resolutions for their family before conflict takes a toll on their financial and emotional well-being is time well-spent.”
To read or to download a free copy of Choosing a Process for Divorce, visit the resources section of the Family Law Section web page at www.wisbar.org/sections/famlaw. Choosing a Process for Divorce also may be purchased in packets of 50 for $20 each. Volume discounts are available: 2 to 10 packets are $18 each; 11 or more packets are $16. Courts and legal clinics may receive free packets of the brochure; please contact Salud Garcia (800) 444-9404, ext. 6190 for a shipping code.