I am passionate about practicing what I call, “Non Hostile Family Law”. I offer an alternate way
to go through the divorce process. I dislike the traditional model of family law (dueling
attorneys) because of all the emotional conflict and financial expense involved. I believe
that most clients have a sense of their property and can understand division. We have great
resources here in Deschutes County with a mediator who will meet with Moms and Dads
regarding how overnights might work for their children. Families choose to have overnights in
all sorts of different ways: week on, week off, just Friday and Saturday nights, extended
weekends, the list goes on and on.
One of the toughest issues in my cases is the issue of spousal support: how much? how long?
There is no calculator for spousal support like there is for child support. Instead, spousal support
is based on a number of factors. Not surprising, one spouse may see the situation and how much
is owed very differently than the other spouse. I like to mediate this issue instead of going to
trial. Our court docket is jammed and it isn’t unusual for a case that is contested to go on and on
for two to three years. You can only imagine the emotional and financial toll that takes on
people and sadly on children.
I believe that most divorces can be mediated and be finished in a reasonable time period. Most
of the clients I work with finish their divorces within 3 months. We get into the case, make some
decisions and move people forward. If there is to be child support and/or spousal support,
instead of having a “temporary” hearing at Court to determine how much support should
“temporarily” be given, I like to move right to the issue and get it decided. This
saves the cost of going to Court to litigate temporary support because then you might have to go
back to litigate the final support. My philosophy is why not determine permanent support and
move people through the process.
I realize not every divorce case fits into my model. Sometimes, there is no option but to go to
Court because your spouse is being completely unreasonable and you need judicial intervention.
However, I find for most people, the divorce issues can be settled in a civil manner. I run into
clients down the road and they are so grateful that their divorce is finished and they report that
the children are thriving and they are even friends with their ex. This is because they did not
destroy each other going through the divorce process.
I always encourage people to go through their divorce in a non hostile manner if it is possible. I
tell them that you can always litigate down the road if that is your only option. Did you know
that 70 percent of the people in Deschutes County are filing “pro se” (representing themselves)?
I believe this is because people have a distrust of attorneys and they don’t want to do battle in the
Courtroom. Luckily, there are several family law attorneys in Central Oregon that are willing to
help people through the process without litigation.