Litigation Is Dead

Litigation is dead; Long live litigation!

It has become universally accepted by those who work in the family courts that the litigation model is really not effective for families embroiled in divorce. The traditional model typically leads to unnecessary and protracted conflict. Just by being treated as “opposing sides”, families are torn apart, and a bad situation becomes increasingly worse.

Many years ago, mediation became the new, alternative way to resolve disputes. The traditional model was recognized for all its flaws, and judges and lawyers were taught to focus on resolution instead of litigation. It was believed that mediation was the all-purpose answer. Mediation has had a huge impact in family court, and a large number of cases are effectively settled through the use of a mediator. However, the litigation model would not quietly die, and regrettably, some families still choose to settle their disputes inside the courtroom.

Not very long ago, the Collaborative Divorce method began to make inroads, and it became the new, alternative way to resolve disputes. It has been celebrated for its anti-litigation mindset, and it is increasingly an effective way to resolve divorces. However, once again, the litigation model won’t quietly die, and some families choose to beat an angry and hostile path to the courtroom.

Unfortunately, there are some people who just want the judge to settle their dispute, and they will fight like gladiators until their day in court (and beyond). Although there are many effective and acceptable alternatives to fighting, some people just have to fight. They don’t know how, or don’t want, to break out of that mindset. It is the same reason we continue to hear about acts of domestic violence and about abusive, inappropriate parents at the peewee football games who think their children are competing for the Heisman Trophy.

Sadly, litigation won’t die because a segment of our population will always want to litigate. For the rest of us, we are effectively using alternatives to litigation, and we are reaping the long-term benefits.

     Posted on October 1, 2008 at 2:06 pm | No comment

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