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The Four Divorce Alternatives

Divorce mediation

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

If you’re a woman who’s contemplating divorce, you have numerous choices about how to continue. In general terms, you need to consider four broad classifications of divorce alternatives: Do-It-Yourself (DIY), Mediation, Collaborative and Litigation. Let’s have a look at the pros and cons of each one.

Do-It-Yourself Divorce

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

The only situation I can imagine when a Diy divorce might make any possible sense, might be in a case where the marital relationship lasted only two or 3 years and there are no children, little or no assets/debts to be divided, comparable incomes and no alimony. In a case like that, a Do-It-Yourself divorce could be accomplished quite rapidly and inexpensively.


In divorce mediation, a separating couple works with a neutral arbitrator who helps both celebrations come to an arrangement on all aspects of their divorce. The arbitrator might or may not be a lawyer, however he/she needs to be incredibly well-versed in divorce and family law. In addition, it is vital for the arbitrator to be neutral and not promote for either party. Both parties still require to seek advice from their own, individual attorneys during the mediation and prior to signing the last divorce settlement arrangement.

Here are a few benefits and drawbacks to consider prior to deciding if mediation will work for you.

On the “pro” side, divorce mediation might:

  • Result in a better long-lasting relationship with your ex-husband because you will not “combat” in court.
  • Be easier on children because the divorce proceedings may be more tranquil.
  • Accelerate an arrangement.
  • Reduce costs.
  • Help you stay in control of your divorce because you are making the decisions (and the court isn’t).
  • Permit more discretion. Mediation is personal; litigated divorce is public.

On the “con” side, divorce mediation may:

  • Lose time and cash. If negotiations fail, you’ll need to begin all over.
  • Be insufficient or unduly favorable to one partner. If the conciliator is unskilled or prejudiced towards your spouse, the outcome could be undesirable for you.
  • Result in an unenforceable agreement. A mediation agreement that’s uneven or inadequately prepared can be challenged.
  • Cause legal issues. Any problem of law will still need to be ruled upon by the court.
  • Fail to uncover specific assets. Given that all financial information is willingly disclosed and there is no subpoena of records, your spouse might potentially conceal assets/income.
  • Reinforce unhealthy behavior patterns. If one partner is dominating and the other is submissive, the final settlement might not be reasonable.
  • Fuel feelings. Mediation might increase negative behavior of a partner with a tendency for physical/mental or drugs/alcohol abuse.

Couples often hear about the marvels of mediation and how it is apparently a better, less contentious, less costly and more “dignified” method to get a divorce. My biggest problem with mediation is that the sole function and goal of the arbitrator is to get the celebrations to come to an arrangement– any contract! Unless both celebrations can be relatively reasonable and friendly (and if they can be, why are they getting separated???), I think that mediation is normally not a viable alternative for a lot of ladies.

Collective Divorce

Basically, collective divorce takes place when a couple accepts work out a divorce settlement without litigating.

During a collaborative divorce both you and your husband will each hire a lawyer who has been trained in the collective divorce process. The function of the lawyers in a collaborative divorce is quite different than in a conventional divorce.

In the collaborative procedure, you, your partner and your particular attorneys all must sign an arrangement that requires that both attorneys withdraw from the case if a settlement is not reached and/or if litigation is threatened. If this takes place, both you and your spouse must start all over again and find brand-new lawyers. Neither celebration can use the same lawyers once again!

Even if the collaborative procedure is successful, you will generally need to appear in family court so a judge can sign the agreement. But the legal process can be much quicker and less expensive than conventional litigation if the collective procedure works.

Though, I have found that the collaborative technique frequently does not work well to settle divorces involving complicated monetary scenarios or when there are substantial properties. In collaborative divorce, just as in mediation, all financial information (income, assets and liabilities) is revealed voluntarily. Typically the hubby controls the “bag strings,” and the other half is typically unaware of the details of their financial situation. When this sort of inequality exists, the door is frequently wide open for the other half to hide properties. What’s more, lots of high net worth divorces include services and expert practices where it is relatively easy to hide assets and income. Additionally, the concern of appraisal can be quite controversial.

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

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

  • You suspect your partner is hiding assets/income.
  • Your hubby is imperious, and you have trouble speaking out or you hesitate to voice your opinions.
  • There is a history or danger of domestic violence (physical and/or psychological) towards you and/or your kids.
  • You or your spouse has a drug/alcohol dependency.

Litigated Divorce

The fourth divorce choice is the most common. Nowadays, the majority of separating couples select the “traditional” design of prosecuted divorce.

Remember, though, “prosecuted” does not mean the divorce ends up in court. The large majority of all divorce cases (more than 95 percent) reach an out-of-court settlement arrangement. “Lawsuits” is a legal term meaning ‘carrying out a lawsuit.’

In 80 percent of cases, the choice to divorce is unilateral– one celebration desires the divorce and the other does not. That, by its very nature, develops an adversarial circumstance right from the start and typically disqualifies mediation and collective divorce, given that both approaches rely on the complete cooperation of both parties and the voluntary disclosure of all monetary info.

Clearly, if you are starting with an adversarial and highly mentally charged circumstance, the opportunities are really high that cooperation or mediation may fail. Why take the danger of going those routes when chances are they might stop working, losing your time and money?

The most essential and most tough parts of any divorce are concerning a contract on child custody, department of properties and liabilities and alimony payments (just how much and for for how long). Although you want your attorney to be a highly experienced mediator, you do not want someone who is extremely combative, all set to fight over anything and everything. An excessively controversial method will not only extend the pain and substantially increase your legal fees, it will likewise be emotionally damaging to everybody involved, specifically the kids.

Keep in mind: Many divorce lawyers (or at least the ones I would advise) will always aim to come to an affordable settlement with the other celebration. If they can’t come to a sensible settlement or if the other party is completely unreasonable then, sadly, going to court, or threatening to do so, may be the only way to resolve these concerns.

Up up until that point both attorneys were “mediators,” trying to get the celebrations to jeopardize and come to some reasonable resolution. As soon as in court, the role of each lawyer changes.

And do not forget, once you’re in court, it’s a judge who knows really little about you and your family that will make the final decisions about your kids, your home, your cash and how you live your life. That’s a very big risk for both celebrations to take– and that’s likewise why the threat of litigating is usually such an excellent deterrent.

Here’s my last word of guidance about divorce alternatives: Weigh divorce choices carefully. The bottom line is that every family, and every divorce, is different. Undoubtedly, if you are able to deal with your other half to make decisions and both of you are honest and reasonable, then mediation or the collaborative approach may be best. However, if you have doubts, it is great to be all set with “Plan B” which would be the prosecuted divorce.

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