Divorce: Use Problem-Solving Approach Rather Than A Court Battle
By: Attorney Susan A. Hansen
Hansen & Hildebrand S.C.
126 N. Jefferson St. #401
Milwaukee, WI 53202
The most common view of divorce is that it is inevitably adversarial and high conflict with damaging emotional and financial costs for the family. It doesn’t have to be that way.
Though 98% of all divorces end in an agreement, this often occurs only after each has spent excessive time and money in traditional posturing and court conflict. Divorce does not have to be an emotionally and financially devastating court battle. The adversarial court process and over-crowded courts are ill-equipped to address the layers of issues involved in restructuring families and finances inherent in a divorce.
I have been practicing family law for over 30 years and have seen many changes. Today, couples have numerous options to navigate their separation and divorce. Those options include:
do-it-yourself – mediation – collaborative practice – traditional litigation
Choosing the option and professionals that are right for you and your family is one of the most important decisions you will make.
At Hansen & Hildebrand, S.C. we provide expertise that focuses on the unique needs of each client and their family. Our goal is to provide education and advice with a minimum of conflict and cost. Though popular, the DIY approach can too often result in imbalanced or poorly informed decisions that can result in years of anger. Professional guidance is essential when making decisions that affect families, finances, businesses and essentially every aspect of a person’s future.
Emotions can run high in any divorce, but that does not have to mean high legal conflict. There are two key alternatives for couples to consider:
Collaborative Practice is an out-of court settlement process to assist clients in creating their own outcomes instead of turning to the courts to make family decisions. Each party hires a lawyer and all four commit to working together to reach an agreement on all issues.
Mediation is an alternative for couples who have the desire and ability to proceed jointly. It is a confidential, voluntary process that utilizes a jointly-retained neutral lawyer mediator who works with the couple together to facilitate gathering and understanding information, support problem-solving and constructive negotiations, and draft and file all necessary legal documents. In mediation, as in collaborative practice, the parties make all decisions themselves in a private setting.
My partner, Greg Hildebrand, and I recently opened the Family Mediation Center (www.familymediationcenter.org) to provide a reduced cost mediation resource for couples at sites throughout southeastern Wisconsin.
Susan A. Hansen practices family law at Hansen & Hildebrand, S.C. with an emphasis on collaborative divorce and mediation. She has extensive experience in complex financial and business issues as well as child-related concerns. Hansen & Hildebrand family lawyers, Susan, Gregory Hildebrand, and Paul Stenzel, practice a client-centered, problem-solving approach to family law issues and support working in an interdisciplinary process to provide the greatest value and long-term benefits to clients.
Susan has consistently been named among Milwaukee’s best divorce attorneys by Milwaukee Magazine, Super Lawyers, Best Lawyers and Best Law Firms in America, Best Mediators in America by US News and World Reports, and an AV Preeminent Peer Rating by Martindale Hubbell.
For more information about Hansen & Hildebrand, S.C., visit www.h-hlaw.com.