What happens in reality is that the litigation process takes hold of both clients and carries them away like a raging river. They fall into it and almost lose control over what happens.
The attorneys do the best they can, but the way they are trained is to simply force the next legal step on the opposing party, such as summons, applications, maintenance hearings such as a Rule 43 in the High Court, demand for plea, call for disclosure of financial documents, or any of the other steps including technical steps to force the other side to react within strict time limits.
This puts a lot of pressure on attorneys and their clients and one or both of the parties are constantly on the back foot. There are dreadful deadlines in which the impossible must be achieved and the parties must either protect or launch attacks of their own on the other side. It’s a war game where blame, fear and manipulation are the tools of the trade and money is the fuel. He who has the most money and the most fearless attorney “wins”.
Except if there is no winner at all, the costs are so high. The litigation process takes a big knock out of the family’s finances. The parties often experience constant and extreme stress, fear and anxiety that can lead to loss of income, stability and health. It is all unnecessary. Even if one spouse “wins” by taking the lion share of the spoils, he/she does not really win. The family will not forget or forgive easily and guilt and self-blame is a major problem. Can one ever feel satisfied if one has taken the lion share at the expense of the family? No. It is not worth it. So why do so many people fight so hard to get the bigger slice of the pie?
Written for fairdivorce.co.za by Renette Rauch (Collaborative Divorce Attorney – Cape Town)
Posted by Sinta Ebersohn (Creator of fairdivorce.co.za – Stellenbosch RSA)