“If you think it’s expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur.”- Red Adair
Maybe divorce is not as dangerous as fighting oil well fires, but it can be as expensive if you do not get the right help. Anh Nguyen related a few examples in our Tuesday meeting.
One client’s mom wanted to avoid taxes on the transfer her house to her son, so she deeded it to him long before her death, but after he was married. Now her son is getting a divorce and his interest in the house is community property. Significant attorney’s fees and much heartache could have been avoided by the mom executing a proper estate plan. Anh has a good chance to rescue most of the value in the house for the son, but a proper estate plan and/or a proper pre-nup would have been preferred.
Speaking of pre-nups, don’t do it yourself. One of her clients used an online form for his pre-nup, but was not aware that they needed to attach a certified list of each spouse’s initial assets. Now there is a big dispute about who owns what. Again, solvable, but at a much greater cost than if a professional were consulted.
Divorce mediation (rather than divorce through litigation) can dramatically reduce costs in many circumstances. It does take spouses who are willing to work together in the mediation, since mediation is not binding unless both parties agree to the final outcome. Anh Nguyen has been doing mediation for many years and is adept at getting the most combative people to successfully mediate.
One way she accomplishes this is to focus on each person’s interest, and not their position. For instance, both parents may want full custody of the kids. What they really want is the best environment for the children ( assuming they are not just trying to be mean to each other). Anh works with them towards that goal.
Another method is to celebrate small victories. Like eating an elephant, a successful mediation is performed one bite at a time. Celebrate choking down each bite and the process looks more and more achievable.
A third method is to give both parties a reality check. No matter what someone else achieved in their divorce, or what you think you can achieve, divorce litigation is a gamble. For every “good” outcome there is a “bad” one and which side you get is in the control of the court, not you. No matter what you think the the law says, no matter what evidence you have, no lawyer will ever give you a guarantee of an outcome. With mediation, you are in control. Nothing happens until you both agree. If you decide you will never comple the mediation, then Anh will vigorously represent you in litigation.
But remember those celebrated small bites – anything you can agree on can be presented to the court as a mediated partial settlement – and the court will accept it.
Contact Anh Nguyen here.