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The 4 Divorce Alternatives

Divorce mediation

No two marriages are the same, therefore it only follows that no two divorces will be the same, either.

In fact, if you’re a woman who’s pondering divorce, you have several alternatives about how to continue. In general terms, you need to consider 4 broad classifications of divorce alternatives: Do-It-Yourself (Do It Yourself), Mediation, Collaborative and Litigation. Let’s have 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 scenario I can visualize when a Do-It-Yourself divorce may make any possible sense, may be in a case where the marriage lasted just two or three years and there are no kids, little or no assets/debts to be divided, similar earnings and no spousal support. In a case like that, a Do-It-Yourself divorce might be achieved rather rapidly and inexpensively.


In divorce mediation, a divorcing couple works with a neutral arbitrator who helps both celebrations pertain to a contract on all aspects of their divorce. The conciliator may or might not be an attorney, however he/she should be incredibly skilled in divorce and family law. In addition, it is crucial for the mediator to be neutral and not promote for either party. Both celebrations still require to seek advice from their own, private lawyers throughout the mediation and prior to signing the final divorce settlement agreement.

Here are a few advantages and disadvantages to think about before deciding if mediation will work for you.

On the “pro” side, divorce mediation might:

  • Result in a better long-term relationship with your ex-husband since you will not “fight” in court.
  • Be easier on children considering that the divorce proceedings may be more tranquil.
  • Accelerate a contract.
  • Reduce expenditures.
  • Help you stay in control of your divorce due to the fact that you are making the decisions (and the court isn’t).
  • Permit more discretion. Mediation is personal; prosecuted divorce is public.

On the “con” side, divorce mediation may:

  • Waste time and money. If settlements fail, you’ll require to start all over.
  • Be incomplete or unduly beneficial to one spouse. If the conciliator is unskilled or prejudiced towards your hubby, the outcome could be unfavorable for you.
  • Result in an unenforceable agreement. A mediation contract that’s uneven or badly drafted can be challenged.
  • Result in legal complications. Any issue of law will still require to be ruled upon by the court.
  • Fail to uncover particular assets. Because all monetary information is willingly revealed and there is no subpoena of records, your spouse could possibly conceal assets/income.
  • Strengthen unhealthy habits patterns. If one partner is controling and the other is submissive, the last settlement might not be fair.
  • Fuel feelings. Mediation might increase negative habits of a spouse with a propensity for physical/mental or drugs/alcohol abuse.

Couples typically hear about the wonders of mediation and how it is supposedly a better, less controversial, less expensive and more “dignified” way to get a divorce. My biggest issue with mediation is that the sole function and objective of the conciliator is to get the parties to come to an agreement– any arrangement! Remember, the conciliator can not give any advice. All they can do is try to get you to concur. Regrettably, not all agreements are good arrangements, and in fact, in most cases, no agreement is much better than a bad arrangement. So unless both celebrations can be relatively affordable and amicable (and if they can be, why are they getting divorced???), I believe that mediation is normally not a viable choice for many ladies.

Collaborative Divorce

Simply put, collaborative divorce occurs when a couple consents to work out a divorce settlement without litigating.

During a collaborative divorce both you and your partner will each employ a lawyer who has been trained in the collaborative divorce procedure. The role of the lawyers in a collaborative divorce is rather various than in a traditional divorce.

In the collaborative process, you, your other half and your particular lawyers all must 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 husband need to start all over once again and discover new lawyers. Neither party can utilize the exact same lawyers once again!

Even if the collective procedure achieves success, you will generally need to appear in family court so a judge can sign the arrangement. The legal process can be much quicker and less costly than traditional litigation if the collective procedure works.

Though, I have found that the collective method frequently doesn’t work well to settle divorces including complex financial situations or when there are significant possessions. In collaborative divorce, just as in mediation, all monetary details (income, properties and liabilities) is divulged willingly. What’s more, numerous high net worth divorces involve organizations and expert practices where it is fairly simple to hide properties and income.

… as a basic rule, my recommendation is this:

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

  • You presume your spouse is hiding assets/income.
  • Your spouse is domineering, and you have difficulty speaking up or you’re afraid to voice your viewpoints.
  • There is a history or threat of domestic violence (physical and/or mental) towards you and/or your children.
  • You or your other half has a drug/alcohol dependency.

Litigated Divorce

The 4th divorce option is the most common. These days, the majority of separating couples select the “traditional” model of prosecuted divorce.

Remember, however, “litigated” does not indicate the divorce winds up in court. The vast bulk of all divorce cases (more than 95 percent) reach an out-of-court settlement arrangement. “Litigation” is a legal term meaning ‘performing a lawsuit.’

Why are lawsuits a part of divorce? Because contrary to common belief, divorce typically does not include two individuals mutually accepting end their marriage. In 80 percent of cases, the decision to divorce is unilateral– one celebration wants the divorce and the other does not. That, by its very nature, produces an adversarial scenario right from the start and typically disqualifies mediation and collaborative divorce, since both methods depend on the complete cooperation of both parties and the voluntary disclosure of all monetary information.

Plainly, if you are starting out with an adversarial and extremely mentally charged scenario, the chances are really high that collaboration or mediation might stop working. Why take the threat of going those routes when odds are they might stop working, losing your time and money?

The most essential and most challenging parts of any divorce are coming to an agreement on child custody, division of assets and liabilities and alimony payments (how much and for how long). Although you want your attorney to be a highly proficient mediator, you don’t want somebody who is overly combative, prepared to combat over anything and whatever. An overly contentious approach will not just lengthen the pain and significantly increase your legal charges, it will also be mentally destructive to everybody included, particularly the kids.

Keep in mind: A lot of divorce attorneys (or at least the ones I would advise) will always make every effort to come to a reasonable settlement with the other party. If they can’t come to a sensible settlement or if the other celebration is entirely unreasonable then, regrettably, going to court, or threatening to do so, might be the only method to fix these problems.

Up up until that point both attorneys were “mediators,” attempting to get the parties to compromise and come to some reasonable resolution. Once in court, the function of each lawyer modifications.

And don’t forget, once you’re in court, it’s a judge who understands extremely little about you and your family that will make the final decisions about your children, your residential or commercial property, your cash and how you live your life. That’s a very big threat for both celebrations to take– and that’s also why the risk of litigating is generally such a good deterrent.

Here’s my last word of suggestions about divorce options: Weigh divorce options carefully. If you have doubts, it is excellent to be prepared with “Strategy B” which would be the litigated divorce.

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