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The 4 Divorce Alternatives

Divorce mediation

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

In fact, if you’re a lady who’s pondering divorce, you have several choices about how to proceed. In general terms, you require to consider 4 broad categories of divorce alternatives: Do-It-Yourself (DIY), Mediation, Collaborative and Lawsuits. Let’s have a look at the pros and cons of every one.

Do-It-Yourself Divorce

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

The only situation I can imagine when a Do-It-Yourself divorce may make any possible sense, may be in a case where the marital relationship lasted just 2 or three years and there are no children, little or no assets/debts to be divided, equivalent incomes and no spousal support. In a case like that, a Do-It-Yourself divorce could be accomplished rather quickly and inexpensively.


In divorce mediation, a separating couple works with a neutral arbitrator who helps both parties come to a contract on all elements of their divorce. Both celebrations still need to consult with their own, individual attorneys during the mediation and prior to signing the last divorce settlement arrangement.

Here are a couple of pros and cons to think about prior to choosing if mediation will work for you.

On the “pro” side, divorce mediation might:

  • Lead to a much better long-lasting relationship with your ex-husband given that you will not “combat” in court.
  • Be much easier on children given that the divorce procedures might be more serene.
  • Expedite an agreement.
  • Reduce expenditures.
  • Assist you stay in control of your divorce due to the fact that you are making the decisions (and the court isn’t).
  • Enable more discretion. Mediation is personal; prosecuted divorce is public.

On the “con” side, divorce mediation might:

  • Waste time and money. If settlements fail, you’ll need to begin all over.
  • Be incomplete or unduly favorable to one spouse. If the mediator is unskilled or prejudiced towards your partner, the result could be unfavorable for you.
  • Result in an unenforceable agreement. A mediation contract that’s lopsided or badly prepared can be challenged.
  • Cause legal problems. Any issue of law will still require to be ruled upon by the court.
  • Fail to reveal certain properties. Given that all financial information is willingly divulged and there is no subpoena of records, your spouse could potentially conceal assets/income.
  • Strengthen unhealthy habits patterns. If one spouse is dominating and the other is submissive, the last settlement might not be fair.
  • Fuel emotions. Mediation could increase negative habits of a partner with a propensity for physical/mental or drugs/alcohol abuse.

Couples often hear about the marvels of mediation and how it is reportedly a better, less controversial, less pricey and more “dignified” method to get a divorce. My biggest problem with mediation is that the sole function and goal of the mediator is to get the celebrations to come to an agreement– any arrangement! Unless both parties can be relatively affordable and amicable (and if they can be, why are they getting divorced???), I believe that mediation is typically not a feasible option for many women.

Collective Divorce

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

Throughout a collaborative divorce both you and your husband will each work with a lawyer who has been trained in the collective divorce procedure. The role of the lawyers in a collective divorce is rather various than in a standard divorce. Each lawyer advises and assists their client in negotiating a settlement agreement. You will meet with your lawyer individually and you and your lawyer will likewise meet your spouse and his attorney. The collaborative procedure might also involve other neutral experts such as a divorce monetary planner who will help both of you work through your monetary issues and a coach or therapist who can help direct both of you through kid custody and other mentally charged concerns.

In the collective procedure, you, your spouse and your particular lawyers all should sign a contract that needs that both attorneys withdraw from the case if a settlement is not reached and/or if lawsuits is threatened. If this occurs, both you and your partner should start all over again and discover new attorneys. Neither party can use the very same attorneys once again!

Even if the collaborative process succeeds, you will generally have to appear in family court so a judge can sign the contract. But the legal process can be much quicker and cheaper than standard lawsuits if the collaborative process works.

Though, I have actually found that the collective method often does not work well to settle divorces involving complicated monetary circumstances or when there are substantial assets. In collaborative divorce, just as in mediation, all financial info (income, possessions and liabilities) is divulged willingly. What’s more, many high net worth divorces include organizations and professional practices where it is reasonably easy to conceal possessions and income.

So … as a general guideline, my suggestion is this:

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

  • You think your hubby is concealing assets/income.
  • Your hubby is imperious, and you have trouble speaking up or you hesitate to voice your opinions.
  • There is a history or threat of domestic violence (physical and/or mental) towards you and/or your kids.
  • You or your husband has a drug/alcohol addiction.

Litigated Divorce

The 4th divorce choice is the most typical. Nowadays, most of divorcing couples choose the “standard” design of prosecuted divorce.

Keep in mind, however, “litigated” does not indicate the divorce winds up in court. In fact, the large majority of all divorce cases (more than 95 percent) reach an out-of-court settlement arrangement. “Lawsuits” is a legal term significance ‘performing a lawsuit.’

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, creates an adversarial situation right from the start and often disqualifies mediation and collaborative divorce, considering that both approaches rely on the full cooperation of both parties and the voluntary disclosure of all financial details.

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

The most crucial and most tough parts of any divorce are concerning a contract on kid custody, department of properties and liabilities and spousal support payments (how much and for how long). You want your lawyer to be a highly knowledgeable mediator, you don’t want somebody who is overly combative, all set to battle over anything and everything. An extremely contentious approach will not only extend the pain and considerably increase your legal costs, it will likewise be emotionally damaging to everybody involved, particularly the kids.

Remember: A lot of divorce attorneys (or at least the ones I would advise) will constantly make every effort to come to an affordable settlement with the other party. If they can’t come to a sensible settlement or if the other party is completely unreasonable then, unfortunately, going to court, or threatening to do so, may be the only way to fix these problems.

If you have attempted whatever else, and you do end up in court, things can get really nasty and hostile. Up until that point both attorneys were “arbitrators,” trying to get the parties to jeopardize and concern some sensible resolution. Once in court, the role of each lawyer modifications. Negotiations and compromise relocate to the back burner. Their brand-new job is to “win” and get the very best possible result for their customer.

And don’t forget, as soon as you’re in court, it’s a judge who understands really little about you and your family that will make the final decisions about your children, your home, your cash and how you live your life. That’s a very big threat for both parties to take– which’s also why the hazard of litigating is typically such a great deterrent.

Here’s my last word of suggestions about divorce alternatives: Weigh divorce options thoroughly. The bottom line is that every family, and every divorce, is various. Clearly, if you have the ability to work with your other half to make decisions and both of you are honest and reasonable, then mediation or the collective method may be best. But, if you have doubts, it is good to be ready with “Plan B” which would be the prosecuted divorce.

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