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Wednesday
Aug102011

Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony Breakup | A California Divorce Attorney’s Perspective

Encino Tarzana Divorce LawyerChild Custody and Support Attorney Los Angeles

by Vanessa Soto Nellis
818.907.3274

San Fernando Valley Custody Lawyer Los Angeles

 

When Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony announced their decision to divorce in mid-July, they made a joint statement in People Magazine, which later got distributed to media outlets around the world:

“This was a very difficult decision. We have come to an amicable conclusion on all matters.”

Even though the breakup will pose emotional hardships for the divorcing spouses, their children, other family members and friends, it’s still a good sign that the celebrity couple presented a united front to the world.

And on the surface, it seems they will not have a typically contentious, celebrity divorce.

This “amicable conclusion” as they call it, sets a good example for other couples dissolving marriages. Why? It’s the smartest move you can make emotionally and financially, especially in tough economic times.

Many of my firm’s clients choose an option similar to the Marc Anthony and Jennifer Lopez divorce route. They take our advice and help us “Bring Calm to Crisis,” as we say in our family law department. They choose to keep emotions under wraps, compromise, fully disclose their finances, and to mediate rather than litigate.

How can you follow their lead? Here are some tips, if you’re thinking about getting a divorce in California:

 

Child Custody Disputes

 

The ultimate goal in resolving child custody issues should be a parenting plan that is in the child’s best interest. Sometimes that goal gets lost in the heat of battle…and if that’s the case, I usually recommend the parents see a co-parenting counselor.

The hourly rates for a counselor will seem high, but they’re not as expensive as litigation. Since most parents will need to co-parent until the child is 18 years of age, learning to resolve conflicts is money well spent.

 

Spousal Disputes

 

It’s rare when couples can divorce with little or no emotion. Feelings are hurt, emotions rack clients with overwhelming anger, loss or guilt, and then there’s the stress of dividing property, debt and custody of children.

I recommend therapy in this situation too…if you can deal with your emotions positively, you’ll save thousands of dollars by not fighting over house plants and other minutiae.

A therapist can help you pick and choose which issues are truly important to you. (Remember, Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony said they settled amicably on “all matters.”)

Attorney Relations

 

The rule of thumb here is: don’t waste your divorce attorney’s,  the court’s, or even your time. Here’s how you can avoid that:

▪ Save money on legal fees by staying organized. Provide all records and documents at once. Your divorce attorney won’t have to sift through information, wait for more data, and then rehash all of the information all over again. Being organized prevents mistakes, which will increase legal costs.

▪ Provide information as soon as possible: You can save money on fees if you don’t have to pay for expedited court filings.

▪ Work with the legal assistant or paralegal. Your divorce attorney’s staff is usually knowledgeable and efficient. Follow up with the legal assistant to see if the attorney needs additional information, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. If the staff can’t provide an answer they’ll get the attorney to respond.

I seriously doubt that Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony can’t afford a high-priced divorce attorney and expensive, drawn out litigation process, if that is the path they choose to travel. But for now, and hopefully throughout their entire dissolution process, they’ll take the higher and economically smarter road.

 

Vanessa Soto Nellis is a Los Angeles Divorce Attorney and Shareholder in the Family Law Department. You can e-mail her at vnellis@lewitthackman.com.


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