According to a March 4 L.A. Times article, retired Family Court Judge Roderic Duncan has written a book entitled “A Judge’s Guide to Divorce: Uncommon Advice from the Bench”. The upshot of the book is that traditional divorce brings out the worst in people and the result is that couples end up supporting the college aspirations of their attorney’s children rather than their own kids.
Contentious divorces easily can cost $100,000 in attorney fees and take more than a year to complete, Duncan said. And the outcome is rarely as good as when couples sit down and cooperate. His book cites several examples of divorces that have spanned decades and demanded legal fees approaching $500,000. And still 80% of the apparent “winners” left court saying that they didn’t get what they wanted, he said.
“Going to court isn’t efficient. It’s way too costly, it takes too much time of everyone involved, and it creates stress and discord between people,” he said. “If it’s discord between just a husband and wife, that happens. But if there are children, that discord spills over to them and that’s just not fair.”
Duncan contends that a successful mediation can take eight to 10 hours and cost less than $5,000. Better yet, the nature of mediation ensures that any settlement works for both sides because nothing is settled until there’s agreement, he added. And judges habitually will rubber-stamp any reasonable agreement that has been accepted by both sides.