Part 3: Steer Clear of the Divorce Communication Breakdown

5 Ways to Save Money When Getting Divorced in Arizona (5 Part Series)

By Arizona Lawyer Julie LaBenz

Finding a way to open an effective line of communication focused on settlement at the outset of a divorce case can result in BIG case savings.

To put it in the simplest terms: divorce is a problem that forces upset spouses to work together and figure out how to be fair with each other.

If they can’t work things out, then a judge is there to decide the disputed issues for them.

Although it may seem like an easy solution – to just have the judge decide – the courtroom is actually much different than what’s portrayed on TV and in the movies.

Landslide court victories are quite rare.  In fact, lawyers often use the term “split the baby” to summarize a judge’s decision.  The term means the judge ruled in favor of each side on certain issues, preventing a “landslide” legal victory.

I’m not suggesting “splitting the baby” means the decision was somehow wrong.  Cases often aren’t black and white.  Plus, the divorce court is a court of equity, meaning there’s a strong focus on fairness.

In addition to fairness, the divorce court also encourages settlement.  As a result, before a case proceeds to trial, the court usually sets multiple settlement conferences to urge the parties to reach an agreement.  These conferences can be spread out over several months as the courts handle many cases; meaning divorce cases that proceed to trial often take a year or longer to move through the court process.

Thus, the mindset of “Let’s just let the judge decide” rarely (if ever) results in a fast, cost-effective, one-sided victory.

Instead, if spouses want an efficient, fair and cost-effective divorce, then it’s imperative to find a way to open a constructive settlement dialogue from the start of the divorce process.

Yet divorcing spouses usually face major barriers to a constructive settlement dialogue as they dislike each other and yell, rather than talk, when communicating.


And, honestly, it often is impossible to have the needed level of communication as spouses are upset with each other and don’t know or have prior experience with divorce.

The lack of divorce knowledge means spouses don’t know exactly what to talk about or what amounts to a reasonable position.  These factors form a big barrier to a constructive divorce dialogue.

When spouses devolve into a communication breakdown, they often experience a more upsetting, dramatic, and hurtful divorce process. 

If it’s too difficult to hold a rational conversation, then consider seeking out professional advice and guidance that decreases the drama, opens a settlement dialogue and moves it to a final, fair resolution. (Click here to read part 1 of this 5 part series that discusses ways to save money on legal fees).

Because lawyers are able to communicate for their clients plus are trained to identify legal issues and lay a path to a case resolution, the right lawyer can empower their client with a fair, efficient and cost-effective case resolution. (Click here to read part 2 of this 5 part series to discover a procedural tool that helps spouses start working together from the start of a divorce case and saves money).


When a divorce involves children, utilizing professional help to re-direct and re-frame the way the parents communicate with each other is of utmost importance.  I’ve found that gaining effective co-parenting communication skills returns years of benefits for the parents and the children.


Are you facing a divorce?  Are you currently experiencing the divorce communication breakdown I talked about in this article?


Thinking about handling your own divorce using the court’s fill in the blank forms?  Already started using the forms and running into problems?  Sign up for Julie’s DIVORCE SCHOOL and empower yourself with legal information aimed at helping spouses achieve a fair and efficient divorce case outcome.  To learn more and to sign up, click here.

Arizona Lawyer Julie LaBenz has been practicing law in Arizona since 2006.  Currently, you’ll find Julie in Sedona, Arizona handling divorce, child custody, estate planning, probate, business planning, and DUI defense.

Disclaimers: 1) This article contains legal information only and is not legal advice; 2) By reading this article Julie LaBenz does not become your lawyer; 3) Julie LaBenz is licensed to practice law in the state of Arizona in the jurisdictions in which she’s admitted to practice.


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