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The 4 Divorce Alternatives

Divorce mediation

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

In fact, if you’re a woman who’s contemplating divorce, you have several alternatives about how to continue. In general terms, you require to consider four broad classifications of divorce alternatives: Do-It-Yourself (DIY), Mediation, Collaborative and Litigation. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of each 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 circumstance I can visualize when a Do-It-Yourself divorce may make any possible sense, might be in a case where the marital relationship lasted just 2 or 3 years and there are no children, little or no assets/debts to be divided, equivalent earnings and no alimony. In a case like that, a Do-It-Yourself divorce might be accomplished quite rapidly and cheaply.


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

Here are a few pros and cons to think about before choosing if mediation will work for you.

On the “professional” side, divorce mediation may:

  • Result in a better long-term relationship with your ex-husband considering that you will not “fight” in court.
  • Be much easier on kids given that the divorce proceedings may be more tranquil.
  • Speed up an agreement.
  • Reduce costs.
  • Help you remain 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 private; prosecuted divorce is public.

Nevertheless, on the “con” side, divorce mediation may likewise:

  • Lose time and cash. If negotiations stop working, you’ll require to begin all over.
  • Be incomplete or unduly beneficial to one partner. If the arbitrator is inexperienced or biased towards your hubby, the outcome could be unfavorable for you.
  • Lead to an unenforceable contract. A mediation agreement that’s lopsided or poorly prepared can be challenged.
  • Cause legal problems. Any concern of law will still require to be ruled upon by the court.
  • Fail to uncover particular properties. Because all financial information is willingly revealed and there is no subpoena of records, your spouse could possibly conceal assets/income.
  • Reinforce unhealthy behavior patterns. If one spouse is dominating and the other is submissive, the last settlement might not be fair.
  • Fuel feelings. Mediation could increase negative habits of a partner with a tendency for physical/mental or drugs/alcohol abuse.

Couples typically become aware of the marvels of mediation and how it is apparently a much better, less contentious, cheaper and more “dignified” method to get a divorce. My greatest issue with mediation is that the sole role and objective of the conciliator is to get the parties to come to an arrangement– any contract! Keep in mind, the arbitrator can not offer any advice. All they can do is try to get you to concur. Unfortunately, not all agreements are great contracts, and in fact, oftentimes, no contract is better than a bad agreement. So unless both parties can be fairly affordable and amicable (and if they can be, why are they getting divorced???), I think that mediation is usually not a viable alternative for the majority of women.

Collective Divorce

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

During a collective divorce both you and your other half will each employ a lawyer who has been trained in the collective divorce process. The role of the lawyers in a collective divorce is rather different than in a conventional divorce. Each lawyer advises and helps their customer in working out a settlement agreement. You will meet your lawyer individually and you and your attorney will also meet with your other half and his lawyer. The collective procedure might also include other neutral specialists such as a divorce monetary organizer who will help both of you work through your financial concerns and a coach or therapist who can assist guide both of you through kid custody and other emotionally charged concerns.

In the collaborative process, you, your spouse and your particular lawyers 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 happens, both you and your spouse must start all over once again and discover brand-new lawyers. Neither celebration can use the very same attorneys again!

Even if the collaborative process achieves success, you will generally need to appear in family court so a judge can sign the contract. But the legal process can be much quicker and less expensive than standard litigation if the collaborative process works.

Though, I have discovered that the collective technique typically does not work well to settle divorces including complex monetary scenarios or when there are significant possessions. In collective divorce, just as in mediation, all financial details (earnings, properties and liabilities) is divulged voluntarily. Frequently the other half controls the “handbag strings,” and the better half is typically uninformed of the information of their monetary situation. When this sort of inequality exists, the door is often wide open for the husband to hide possessions. What’s more, numerous high net worth divorces involve services and professional practices where it is reasonably easy to hide properties and income. In addition, the issue of valuation can be rather contentious.

So … as a basic rule, my recommendation is this:

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

  • You presume your partner is hiding assets/income.
  • Your spouse is aggressive, and you have difficulty speaking out or you’re afraid to voice your viewpoints.
  • There is a history or risk of domestic violence (physical and/or mental) towards you and/or your kids.
  • You or your husband has a drug/alcohol dependency.

Litigated Divorce

The 4th divorce alternative is the most common. Nowadays, most of divorcing couples select the “traditional” model of litigated divorce.

Bear in mind, however, “prosecuted” does not imply the divorce winds up in court. The vast majority of all divorce cases (more than 95 percent) reach an out-of-court settlement agreement. “Litigation” is a legal term significance ‘carrying out a claim.’

In 80 percent of cases, the decision to divorce is unilateral– one party desires the divorce and the other does not. That, by its very nature, produces an adversarial situation right from the start and often disqualifies mediation and collective divorce, given that both approaches rely on the complete cooperation of both celebrations and the voluntary disclosure of all financial information.

Plainly, if you are starting out with an adversarial and highly mentally charged situation, the possibilities are very high that cooperation or mediation may fail. Why take the risk of going those routes when chances are they might fail, losing your time and money?

The most important and most difficult parts of any divorce are concerning a contract on kid custody, department of assets and liabilities and spousal support payments (how much and for for how long). You want your attorney to be a highly experienced negotiator, you do not want someone who is excessively combative, prepared to battle over anything and everything. An extremely contentious technique will not just lengthen the discomfort and significantly increase your legal charges, it will also be emotionally harmful to everybody included, specifically the kids.

Keep in mind: Many divorce attorneys (or at least the ones I would suggest) will always aim to come to a reasonable settlement with the other party. If they can’t come to a sensible 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 deal with these problems.

If you have attempted whatever else, and you do wind up in court, things can get actually nasty and hostile. Up up until that point both attorneys were “negotiators,” trying to get the parties to compromise and come to some sensible resolution. But once in court, the role of each lawyer modifications. Settlements and compromise move to the back burner. Their new job is to “win” and get the very best possible outcome for their client.

And don’t forget, once you remain in court, it’s a judge who knows very little about you and your family that will make the final decisions about your kids, your home, your money and how you live your life. That’s a huge risk for both celebrations to take– and that’s likewise why the hazard of going to court is usually such an excellent deterrent.

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

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