Divorce Litigation is Truly a Marathon

Richard Ross ran the full 26.2 mile Honolulu Marathon in Hawaii on December 13, 2015. He began training for the marathon with a running group in June 2015. His first run was only two miles. Each week, the mileage would be increased by one or two miles. When the mileage reached 12 miles, 14 miles, 16 miles, etc., each long run would be followed by a week or two of recovery runs consisting of six, seven, or eight miles respectively.

When Richard Ross is not training for a marathon, he practices family law. Richard Ross is a Certified Family Specialist, certified by the State Bar of California, after taking an arduous test similar to a second bar exam, completing a rigorous course of training, proving my vast experience in completing trials, motions, and other court hearings in family law, and being peer reviewed by my colleagues. That process of becoming a Certified Family Law Specialist was a marathon in itself.

Divorce Litigation is Like Running a Marathon

While running the Honolulu Marathon, Richard had a lot of time to think. He analogized the preparation leading up to running a full marathon to a person enduring family law divorce litigation. Anyone who has experienced divorce court litigation will tell you that the process is long and arduous.

As in most disciplines, preparation is the key to success. Richard Ross did not go out and run 26.2 miles without first training for 6 months. The first two miles were difficult. Richard had not run a marathon for 10 years before he ran the Honolulu Marathon on December 13, 2015. But, with thoughtful training with an experienced running coach, he was able to increase his mileage to eventually complete 26.2 miles 6 months later.

A man or woman facing divorce experiences many emotions. A person who did not want the divorce to occur might experience fear, uncertainty, confusion, insecurity, rejection, or lack of knowledge as to what the future holds. The person desiring the divorce might not experience rejection, but the divorce process can still be scary, uncertain, and quite expensive for both sides.

It is important to consult with an experienced family law attorney who should explain the judicial process, the steps along the way, spot and explain the various legal issues that must be analyzed, and come up with a plan of action, with a well thought out strategy, considering the client's available financial budget.

Preparing for divorce litigation is like preparing for a marathon. Various court forms must be completed, filed with the Court and served on the other party. Exchange of financial disclosures by litigants is a prerequisite to a divorce in California. Statutory deadlines apply. Temporary court orders for child custody, support and protection of property are usually needed that require the preparation of forms and declarations and a trip to the courthouse. All of these steps along the way involve client participation. Careful planning and arduous preparation is necessary similar to the training needed to successfully complete a full 26.2 mile marathon.

Well, race day came. The marathon began at 5:00 a.m., while still dark outside, in Honolulu, with a fantastic fireworks show that got the crowd hyped up and excited. However, prior to start of the race, Richard had to get up from bed at 2:00 a.m., eat a small breakfast, get dressed with my race number on my shirt, and be ready to meet the group that I trained with for six months in the lobby of the hotel at 3:00 a.m., to walk for another 45 minutes to the race starting site, and be in place by 4:00 a.m. For the next hour, there was an hour of butterflies in his stomach in anticipation.

This is like the first day of court. Litigants have to appear in a crowded courtroom, with strangers in attendance, walk up to the counsel table when their case is called and tell their story to the Judge in front of the entire courtroom. All of the anticipation, the butterflies, the expectations, are very similar to the hour leading up to the opening gun that starts the race. Having an experienced family attorney with you at the courthouse, having prepared you and explained the entire process, and standing next to you, advocating for you, to the judge certainly makes the experience much easier.

At 5:00 a.m., the gun went off, the fireworks were completed, and now there was still 26.2 miles ahead, hours of running, of course, depending on the speed of the runner. Unless you are one of the elite runners ahead of the pack, usually from Kenya, most runners begin the first few miles of the marathon running next to thousands of other runners. But, at this point, it is exciting, with great expectations. This is similar to the first court appearance. This is the day the litigant has waited for. So, you get through that first day of court. Hopefully, you were successful in getting the orders sought.

As the marathon continues for miles and miles, with many uphill runs, some quite steep, the process becomes more arduous. While the road is not as crowded as runners thin out along the way, it gets pretty tiring by the time Richard hit mile 15. Some of the runners I was with were contemplating quitting by mile 17. Richard talked them out of it. Richard's group did not run 17 miles not to finish! Richard saw other runners unable to continue, some receiving medical attention, while a few were taken away by ambulance. Most runners hit the "wall" at some point. It might be mile 18, 20 or 22. But, most reach a point where the body is exhausted and would like to stop running. You have to play games with your head to keep yourself moving, focused and determined.

As the family law process continues, litigants become exhausted, often running out of money to continue, worn out by the process, and wanting the litigation to be over. Some quit. Some can't afford to keep their lawyer and must go the last few miles by themselves, often with the help of self-help clinics. This is so unfortunate. Richard believes that proper planning and strategy, and reasonable expectations in light of available financial resources, should make it possible for litigants that he represents to get all the way to the finish line.

In spite of the physical and mental endurance challenge, Richard finally approached the finish line. He saw it in view. At first it was far away. But, as he pushed toward that finish line, he got excited again. He picked up his speed, and he began looking at all of the well-wishers along the side line that persuaded him on, clapping, most who he had never saw before. The finish line got closer and closer and Richard finally passed it as his name was called out by the announcer. Richard Ross was a marathon finisher!

A family law divorce case is a marathon. The litigant needs to find the mental and physical strength to persevere onward to the trial or final judgment, to the finish line of the divorce marathon. At Richard Ross Associates, we will help you succeed. Our law firm consists only of family law lawyers. From the beginning training, to the higher mileage, finally to race day, and from the start of the opening gun all the way to finish line, we have years of experience and possess the necessary skills to successfully assist our clients negotiating the divorce marathon highway all the way to the finish line, while holding their heads high, with self-respect and great expectations for the future.

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