About 90% of divorces are handled without litigation in court these days. There are many benefits for couples to avoid court. In the past, it was (and still is) less expensive, takes less time and is less aggressive. These reasons are essential positives as spouses pivot to new lives likely will remain intertwined because of children or shared circles of friends.
In 2021, there are also other positives. Divorce courts typically have a backlog during the best of times, and after more than a year of shutdowns and limited remote schedules, it has only grown. These delays have even prompted some waiting for a court date to reengage in negotiations to find closure and move on.
Video litigation can be frustrating
According to the New York Times, some are also finding that video litigation to be problematic. It can mean that clients may be coached off-camera by their attorney (forbidden but unenforceable), or the client and attorney are looking at the computer screen and are unable to communicate when others are providing testimony (in a courtroom, they could pass a note). It is also harder for judges to read body language they would otherwise see in person.
Video mediation okay
While video litigation may involve sides looking for an unfair advantage, mediation is a collaborative approach where spouses can speak with their counsel as much as they’d like as they search for equitable solutions. There have even occasions where the couple, following stay-at-home orders under the same roof, used video conferencing in separate rooms. Some who live apart have also found it easier to negotiate when they are not in the same room.
A specific approach
Different attorneys have different approaches to practicing law, so it is usually best for clients to find representation that fits their needs. In the case of mediation, it means finding an attorney skilled at building consensus (via videoconferencing or in-person) if that is how the client wants to handle the divorce.