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The 4 Divorce Alternatives

Divorce mediation

No 2 marriages are the same, and so it just follows that no 2 divorces will be the same, either.

In fact, if you’re a lady who’s considering divorce, you have numerous options about how to proceed. In general terms, you need to consider four broad classifications of divorce alternatives: Do-It-Yourself (Do It Yourself), Mediation, Collaborative and Lawsuits. Let’s have a look at the pros and cons of each one.

Do-It-Yourself Divorce

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

The only scenario I can envision when a Do-It-Yourself divorce might make any possible sense, may be in a case where the marriage lasted just two or 3 years and there are no kids, little or no assets/debts to be divided, similar incomes and no alimony. In a case like that, a Do-It-Yourself divorce might be accomplished quite quickly and cheaply.


In divorce mediation, a divorcing couple works with a neutral arbitrator who assists both celebrations pertain to a contract on all aspects of their divorce. The conciliator may or may not be an attorney, however he/she should be extremely fluent in divorce and family law. In addition, it is critical for the conciliator to be neutral and not advocate for either party. Both celebrations still require to seek advice from their own, individual lawyers during the mediation and prior to signing the last divorce settlement contract.

Here are a few pros and cons to consider prior to choosing if mediation will work for you.

On the “professional” side, divorce mediation may:

  • Lead to a better long-term relationship with your ex-husband considering that you will not “fight” in court.
  • Be easier on children given that the divorce procedures might be more peaceful.
  • Speed up an arrangement.
  • Reduce expenses.
  • Assist you remain in control of your divorce since you are deciding (and the court isn’t).
  • Permit more discretion. Mediation is personal; prosecuted divorce is public.

However, on the “con” side, divorce mediation may also:

  • Lose time and cash. If negotiations stop working, you’ll need to start all over.
  • Be insufficient or unduly beneficial to one spouse. If the arbitrator is inexperienced or biased towards your husband, the outcome could be unfavorable for you.
  • Lead to an unenforceable contract. A mediation agreement that’s lopsided or badly prepared can be challenged.
  • Cause legal complications. Any issue of law will still need to be ruled upon by the court.
  • Fail to uncover particular assets. Considering that all financial information is willingly disclosed and there is no subpoena of records, your partner might possibly conceal assets/income.
  • Strengthen unhealthy behavior patterns. If one partner is controling and the other is submissive, the last settlement may not be fair.
  • Fuel emotions. Mediation might increase negative behavior of a spouse with a tendency for physical/mental or drugs/alcohol abuse.

Couples often hear about the marvels of mediation and how it is apparently a much better, less contentious, less pricey and more “dignified” method to get a divorce. My greatest problem with mediation is that the sole function and objective of the arbitrator is to get the parties to come to an agreement– any arrangement! Unless both parties can be fairly affordable and amicable (and if they can be, why are they getting divorced???), I think that mediation is typically not a viable alternative for most women.

Collective Divorce

Simply put, collaborative divorce happens when a couple consents to work out a divorce settlement without going to court.

During a collaborative divorce both you and your partner will each employ an attorney who has been trained in the collective divorce process. The role of the lawyers in a collective divorce is quite different than in a conventional divorce. Each lawyer advises and assists their client in negotiating a settlement agreement. You will consult with your lawyer independently and you and your lawyer will likewise meet with your other half and his lawyer. The collaborative process might likewise include other neutral specialists such as a divorce financial organizer who will assist both of you resolve your financial concerns and a coach or therapist who can help guide both of you through child custody and other mentally charged problems.

In the collaborative process, you, your spouse and your particular lawyers all should sign a contract that needs that both lawyers withdraw from the case if a settlement is not reached and/or if lawsuits is threatened. If this takes place, both you and your hubby need to start all over again and discover brand-new attorneys. Neither celebration can use the exact same attorneys again!

Even if the collaborative procedure is successful, you will normally need to appear in family court so a judge can sign the arrangement. The legal procedure can be much quicker and less pricey than traditional litigation if the collaborative procedure works.

However, I have actually discovered that the collective technique frequently does not work well to settle divorces involving complex financial circumstances or when there are considerable assets. In collaborative divorce, just as in mediation, all financial details (income, assets and liabilities) is revealed voluntarily. Typically the husband controls the “handbag strings,” and the spouse is normally uninformed of the details of their financial situation. When this sort of inequality exists, the door is frequently wide open for the other half to conceal properties. What’s more, lots of high net worth divorces involve companies and expert practices where it is fairly easy to hide assets and income. Additionally, the concern of valuation can be rather controversial.

… as a basic guideline, my recommendation is this:

Do NOT utilize any of these first 3 alternatives– Do-It-Yourself Divorce, Mediation or Collaborative Divorce– if:

  • You presume your other half is concealing assets/income.
  • Your hubby is aggressive, and you have trouble speaking up or you’re afraid to voice your opinions.
  • There is a history or danger of domestic violence (physical and/or mental) towards you and/or your children.
  • You or your husband has a drug/alcohol dependency.

Litigated Divorce

The fourth divorce option is the most typical. These days, the majority of divorcing couples select the “traditional” model of litigated divorce.

Keep in mind, however, “prosecuted” does not mean the divorce winds up in court. The huge majority of all divorce cases (more than 95 percent) reach an out-of-court settlement agreement. “Lawsuits” is a legal term significance ‘performing a lawsuit.’

Why are claims a part of divorce? Since contrary to popular belief, divorce typically does not include 2 people mutually accepting end their marital relationship. In 80 percent of cases, the decision to divorce is unilateral– one party wants the divorce and the other does not. That, by its very nature, creates an adversarial circumstance right from the start and typically disqualifies mediation and collective divorce, because both approaches depend on the full cooperation of both parties and the voluntary disclosure of all financial info.

Clearly, if you are starting out with an adversarial and highly emotionally charged scenario, the possibilities are really high that cooperation or mediation may fail. Why take the danger of going those paths when odds are they might stop working, wasting your time and money?

The most essential and most tough parts of any divorce are concerning an arrangement on kid custody, department of assets and liabilities and alimony payments (just how much and for how long). Although you want your attorney to be a highly experienced mediator, you don’t want someone who is excessively combative, prepared to fight over anything and whatever. An extremely controversial method will not only lengthen the pain and substantially increase your legal charges, it will also be mentally destructive to everyone included, particularly the kids.

Keep in mind: A lot of divorce attorneys (or at least the ones I would recommend) will always make every effort to come to an affordable settlement with the other party. 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, might be the only way to deal with these issues.

If you have actually attempted everything else, and you do wind up in court, things can get really nasty and hostile. Up up until that point both attorneys were “arbitrators,” trying to get the parties to jeopardize and come to some reasonable resolution. When in court, the role of each lawyer changes. Negotiations and compromise transfer to the back burner. Their brand-new task is to “win” and get the very best possible result for their client.

And don’t forget, as soon as you’re in court, it’s a judge who knows extremely little about you and your family that will make the decisions about your children, your residential or commercial property, your cash and how you live your life. That’s a huge risk for both parties to take– which’s likewise why the danger of going to court is typically such an excellent deterrent.

Here’s my last word of suggestions about divorce alternatives: Weigh divorce alternatives carefully. If you have doubts, it is good to be ready with “Plan B” which would be the prosecuted divorce.

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