In many cases where a divorce in Utah turns contentious, there are no winners. One former spouse may get child custody or a larger share of the martial property, but the emotional scars left by harsh words and bitter accusations can last for years. In short, the psychological impact of a difficult divorce is often not worth it for many couples.
That is why, for many couples, collaborative divorce is a better option. Alternative forms of dispute resolution like mediation can be used by couples who are able to work together to negotiate a settlement to their financial and child-related divorce issues. The result can be a divorce settlement that both sides can accept, even if neither side gets everything he or she wants.
Many judges agree that cases of contentious divorce often create absurd results. A pair of judges with experience in family court in another state recently wrote a book discussing some of the cases they have presided over. One couple’s dispute over Tupperware ended up with one spouse getting the bowls and the other getting the lids. In another case, a husband who wanted to keep the cat claimed he was the animal’s primary caretaker but admitted he did not know its sex.
There are also more serious consequences of litigious divorce. One of the judges had a woman appear before her in criminal court for a drug-related probation violation. Her parents had gone though a bitter divorce that contributed to her drug addiction. The judge said that he wished he could show a video of that woman’s hearing to parents to warn them about the possible outcomes of contentious divorce.
Source: The Portland Press Herald, “Maine judges’ book appeals to ‘better angels’ in divorce proceedings,” Ann S. Kim, Nov. 26, 2012