One of my most valued gifts is a copy of “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!” by Dr. Seuss. My AP English teacher, Mary Jo Morris, gave it to me. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the book, here’s a link to John Lithgow’s particularly entertaining reading of the classic:
As a family law attorney handling divorces, issues of child custody, visitation, and support, it happens that I often join my clients in The Waiting Place. We wait for court dates. We wait for DNA test results. We wait for the other side to respond. We wait for the process server. We wait for others to send records. We wait and wait, and wait again.
The waiting happens, and sometimes can’t be avoided. However, recently, with our local courts in conflict with state officials in Montgomery over funding, the waiting has increased in length and frequency. For more on the funding issues, here’s a recent story published by the Lagniappe:
If you’re still with me on this, here’s the “so what?” The waiting required for the traditional litigation in a family law matter has increased over and above what was already a slow process. As a result, you may want to consider alternative means of resolving your issues. While some of these alternatives may cost more money up front, you may save the costs many times over by resolving the dispute rather than having a trial.
Mediation, collaborative practice, arbitration, and private judges are a few of the alternatives available to families in Mobile County seeking a timely resolution of their family law issues. Each alternative method has its advantages and disadvantages. With my clients, I review the alternatives and let them decide whether it’s worth it to them to step outside of the litigation cycle and at least try to resolve matters by agreement.
The fact is that, especially in matters involving children, you can’t afford to stay in The Waiting Place. Those children you’re fighting over and destroying emotionally with your conflict will be grown and gone before you know it. Continuing the litigation cycle means the risk that you wake up one day and your children have become adults and that the happy memories you wanted when you started this whole child-raising enterprise, have been usurped by memories of the time, emotion, and money invested in a series of court battles.
If you’re ready to move on from The Waiting Place, contact me. I’ll help you escape “all that waiting and staying.” While you may not be able to see it from where you are now, there’s a place where you can the parent and the person you want to be. It’s my job to clear the path.