Divorce War DON’TS, and “Aggressive Representation”

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketAre you in or thinking about getting a divorce? Back in 2007 I came across a dreadful book in a thrift store that I picked up to remind me of some of the worst misconceptions and even unethical practices about “doing” a divorce. Those misconceptions and practices can affect how well (psychologically and emotionally as well as financially) you and your loved ones come through it all. The book, Divorce War!, lists “50 strategies every woman needs to know to win.” I started reviewing these “strategies” back then, and stopped for a while. Now, in 2013, I’m picking up where I left off.  I call these posts “50 Ways How NOT To Leave Your Lover”.

Do disregard the “every woman” idea of that book– if you are in a divorce you are under stress, and you want to know how to handle conflict and the divorce process better, regardless of your gender.

Simply put, the book defines an uncritically aggressive approach to handling a divorce, even though increased aggression often (usually?) results in both decreased effectiveness and decreased long term satisfaction. It may also destroy relationship between your children and their other parent, and that harms children. It reminds me of what I thought of as an oxymoranic attorney website I saw once. It announced, first, its “aggressive divorce and custody representation” while, with almost the same breath, it offered mediation among its services. Really, both are possibly equally well done by the same individual (wearing different hats), but I don’t think it’s probable.

What’s the preference of the attorney? As described by Harold Abramson, Professor of Law at Touro Law Center, in Mediation Representation: Advocating in a Problem-Solving Process (2d ed. 2010), which won the 2004 Book Award of the CPR Institute for Dispute Resolution, the author of Divorce Wars! seems to prefer an “Adversarial Negotiation” approach.  I’m a realist — sometimes “war” is necessary. Most cases, however, especially at the start, are better served, I believe, with what Abramson calls a “Problem-solving Negotiation” approach.

What’s your preference? Talk about it with any attorney you are thinking of hiring.