Fees, Emotional Cost Of Going To Divorce Court Are Enormous
Guest Author, Anne Kass, - a retired District Judge of Albuquerque, New Mexico

Most people seem to know that divorce litigation can cost a lost of money for legal fees. My experience is that it often costs as much as $3,000 a side for a one day trial--just for lawyers. If expert witnesses are involved, their fees are over and above that.

But there are other costs as well--emotional costs.

One emotional cost of litigation is that it encourages the litigants to focus on the past, which diverts their time and energy from the present, and the present often just slips away.

Another emotional cost of litigation is that it reinforces the all-too-common human tendency to focus on fault and blame. Litigation also invites litigants to avoid taking responsibility for their own lives.

This also leads people to feel helpless.

Litigation tends to foster polarized thought processes. Polarized thinking is recognized to be a cognitive dysfunction in other disciplines, yet the law, or litigation, promotes it. Viewing the world in black and white is not only inaccurate, it is one primary cause of conflict, and conflict destroys human relationships.

Litigation seduces people into fantasizing that there are magic solutions to their problems.

Such happy endings may occur on "L.A. Law" on television, but rarely happen in real life.

Litigation bolsters fortunate belief that happiness exists externally when in fact happiness exists within oneself. Litigation also cements ill will. I often hear lawyers say a client needs a day in court, or they just need someone to hear them out, or a trial will serve as a catharsis.

That is almost never the case.

By focusing so much time and energy on past wrongs and fault and blame, and by saying and hearing all the unkind things that get voiced in a courtroom, "on the record," each party convinces himself that she or he was right.

The costs of litigation are indeed enormous.



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