When Do you Need to Hire a Divorce Litigator?

NEW YORK (MainStreet)—I'm hearing a lot of my divorcing friends say things that make me nervous. They say they want to go the mediation or the collaborative route ... because they don't want fireworks. They don't want a "big crazy angry mess," as one girlfriend put it.

What this really means is they want to be nice. Of course they do, that's part of why they are my friends. And of course, being my friends, they are usually in the right, meaning it was the other spouse who left or cheated or gambled them into bankruptcy. But I'm nervous, because I want them to be O.K. when they get through this whole process, and I think some of them might require bigger guns.

Also see: The ABC's of Affordable Divorce

To all of my friends, and all of you other nice people who are divorcing, take a look at the following. Here, gathered from attorneys in mediation, collaboration and litigation are some key indicators that you might need to double check your arsenal as you head to the negotiation battlefield.

  • 1. Your spouse has, or makes way more money than you do.
  • 2. You both have money, but he works in finance and you know nothing about money other than the best ways to spend it.
  • 3. You both have a lot of money, property and other types of assets, which makes it, well, complicated.
  • 4. Your spouse is an unreasonable bully.
  • 5. You have reason to believe that your spouse may be hiding assets.
  • 6. Your spouse is not just unreasonable, but sometimes seriously out to lunch, and might even be dangerous at times, either to himself, to you or to your kids.
  • 7. Your spouse has a different passport than you do and enough money to purchase plane tickets (for himself and the kids) to someplace he or she can call home and you can't.
  • 8. Your spouse is a chronic ditherer OR has reason to want to stretch out this process indefinitely, to your disadvantage.

Also see: Divorce and the New Wheels Dilemma