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The Four Divorce Alternatives

Divorce mediation

No two marital relationships are the same, and so it just follows that no two divorces will be the same, either.

In fact, if you’re a female who’s contemplating divorce, you have several choices about how to proceed. In general terms, you require to consider 4 broad categories of divorce options: Do-It-Yourself (Do It Yourself), Mediation, Collaborative and Lawsuits. Let’s take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of each one.

Do-It-Yourself Divorce

The very best recommendations I can provide you about Do-It-Yourself Divorce, is DON’T Do-It-Yourself!

The only situation I can picture when a Diy divorce may make any possible sense, might be in a case where the marriage lasted just 2 or 3 years and there are no kids, little or no assets/debts to be divided, comparable earnings and no alimony. In a case like that, a Diy divorce might be achieved rather quickly and inexpensively.


In divorce mediation, a separating couple works with a neutral conciliator who assists both parties come to an agreement on all elements of their divorce. Both parties still need to seek advice from with their own, private lawyers during the mediation and prior to signing the final divorce settlement contract.

Here are a couple of benefits and drawbacks to think about before deciding if mediation will work for you.

On the “professional” side, divorce mediation may:

  • Lead to a much better long-term relationship with your ex-husband since you will not “fight” in court.
  • Be much easier on kids since the divorce proceedings might be more peaceful.
  • Speed up an arrangement.
  • Reduce expenses.
  • Assist you stay in control of your divorce since you are deciding (and the court isn’t).
  • Enable more discretion. Mediation is personal; litigated divorce is public.

On the “con” side, divorce mediation may:

  • Waste time and money. If settlements stop working, you’ll require to begin all over.
  • Be insufficient or unduly favorable to one partner. If the mediator is inexperienced or biased towards your other half, the result could be unfavorable for you.
  • Lead to an unenforceable contract. A mediation agreement that’s lopsided or badly prepared can be challenged.
  • Cause legal problems. Any issue of law will still need to be ruled upon by the court.
  • Fail to uncover certain assets. Given that all monetary details is voluntarily revealed and there is no subpoena of records, your husband could potentially conceal assets/income.
  • Strengthen unhealthy behavior patterns. If one partner is dominating and the other is submissive, the final settlement may not be fair.
  • Fuel feelings. Mediation could increase unfavorable habits of a spouse with a tendency for physical/mental or drugs/alcohol abuse.

Couples typically hear about the wonders of mediation and how it is apparently a better, less controversial, less pricey and more “dignified” method to get a divorce. My most significant problem with mediation is that the sole role and objective of the conciliator is to get the parties to come to a contract– any arrangement! Unless both celebrations can be relatively reasonable and amicable (and if they can be, why are they getting divorced???), I believe that mediation is generally not a feasible alternative for most women.

Collective Divorce

Basically, collective divorce happens when a couple accepts work out a divorce settlement without going to court.

Throughout a collaborative divorce both you and your hubby will each hire an attorney who has been trained in the collective divorce process. The role of the lawyers in a collective divorce is rather different than in a standard divorce.

In the collective procedure, you, your husband and your particular attorneys all must sign an agreement that requires that both lawyers withdraw from the case if a settlement is not reached and/or if lawsuits is threatened. If this happens, both you and your partner should begin all over once again and discover brand-new lawyers. Neither party can utilize the very same lawyers once again!

Even if the collaborative process is successful, you will typically need to appear in family court so a judge can sign the contract. The legal process can be much quicker and less expensive than traditional lawsuits if the collaborative procedure works.

Though, I have actually found that the collaborative technique often doesn’t work well to settle divorces including complicated financial situations or when there are considerable assets. In collective divorce, just as in mediation, all financial details (income, possessions and liabilities) is disclosed willingly. What’s more, many high net worth divorces include services and professional practices where it is reasonably simple to conceal possessions and income.

… as a basic rule, my recommendation is this:

Do NOT use any of these first three options– Do-It-Yourself Divorce, Mediation or Collaborative Divorce– if:

  • You believe your other half is hiding assets/income.
  • Your other half is prideful, and you have difficulty speaking out or you hesitate to voice your viewpoints.
  • There is a history or danger of domestic violence (physical and/or psychological) towards you and/or your children.
  • You or your husband has a drug/alcohol dependency.

Litigated Divorce

The fourth divorce choice is the most typical. Nowadays, the majority of divorcing couples choose the “traditional” design of litigated divorce.

Keep in mind, though, “prosecuted” does not imply the divorce winds up in court. In fact, the large bulk of all divorce cases (more than 95 percent) reach an out-of-court settlement agreement. “Lawsuits” is a legal term meaning ‘carrying out a suit.’

Why are claims a part of divorce? Due to the fact that contrary to popular belief, divorce usually does not involve 2 individuals equally consenting to end their marriage. In 80 percent of cases, the choice to divorce is unilateral– one party wants the divorce and the other does not. That, by its very nature, creates an adversarial scenario right from the start and typically disqualifies mediation and collective divorce, considering that both methods count on the full cooperation of both parties and the voluntary disclosure of all financial details.

Plainly, if you are starting out with an adversarial and extremely emotionally charged scenario, the chances are extremely high that collaboration or mediation might stop working. Why take the risk of going those paths when chances are they might fail, squandering your time and money?

The most important and most difficult parts of any divorce are coming to a contract on child custody, department of possessions and liabilities and alimony payments (just how much and for for how long). Although you desire your lawyer to be an extremely experienced mediator, you do not desire somebody who is overly combative, prepared to combat over anything and everything. An extremely controversial technique will not just extend the discomfort and substantially increase your legal charges, it will also be mentally damaging to everyone involved, specifically the kids.

Keep in mind: Most divorce lawyers (or a minimum of the ones I would suggest) will always make every effort to come to a reasonable settlement with the other celebration. If they can’t come to a reasonable settlement or if the other party is entirely unreasonable then, sadly, going to court, or threatening to do so, may be the only way to solve these problems.

If you have attempted whatever else, and you do wind up in court, things can get truly nasty and hostile. Up up until that point both attorneys were “arbitrators,” trying to get the parties to compromise and concern some reasonable resolution. But once in court, the function of each lawyer changes. Negotiations and compromise transfer to the back burner. Their new task is to “win” and get the best possible outcome for their customer.

And don’t forget, when you remain in court, it’s a judge who understands very little about you and your family that will make the decisions about your children, your property, your cash and how you live your life. That’s a huge risk for both parties to take– and that’s also why the risk of going to court is normally such an excellent deterrent.

Here’s my last word of advice about divorce alternatives: Weigh divorce alternatives thoroughly. If you have doubts, it is excellent to be prepared with “Plan B” which would be the litigated divorce.

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