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The Four Divorce Alternatives

Divorce mediation

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

In fact, if you’re a lady who’s contemplating divorce, you have a number of choices about how to proceed. In general terms, you require to think about 4 broad categories of divorce alternatives: Do-It-Yourself (DIY), Mediation, Collaborative and Lawsuits. Let’s take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of each one.

Do-It-Yourself Divorce

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

The only scenario I can envision when a Diy divorce may make any possible sense, may be in a case where the marital relationship lasted only 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 could be achieved quite rapidly and cheaply.


In divorce mediation, a separating couple works with a neutral arbitrator who assists both celebrations come to an arrangement on all elements of their divorce. The arbitrator may or might not be a lawyer, but he/she should be very skilled in divorce and family law. In addition, it is crucial for the conciliator to be neutral and not promote for either celebration. Both celebrations still require to consult with their own, specific attorneys during the mediation and prior to signing the last divorce settlement arrangement.

Here are a couple of advantages and disadvantages to consider before choosing if mediation will work for you.

On the “professional” side, divorce mediation may:

  • Lead to a much better long-term relationship with your ex-husband since you will not “fight” in court.
  • Be easier on children given that the divorce procedures might be more serene.
  • Expedite an arrangement.
  • Reduce expenses.
  • Help you remain in control of your divorce since you are making the decisions (and the court isn’t).
  • Allow for more discretion. Mediation is personal; litigated divorce is public.

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

  • Lose time and cash. If settlements fail, you’ll require to begin all over.
  • Be insufficient or unduly beneficial to one partner. If the conciliator is inexperienced or biased towards your hubby, the outcome could be undesirable for you.
  • Lead to an unenforceable arrangement. A mediation agreement 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 reveal certain assets. Given that all monetary info is voluntarily disclosed and there is no subpoena of records, your other half could potentially conceal assets/income.
  • Enhance unhealthy behavior patterns. If one partner is dominating and the other is submissive, the last settlement may not be fair.
  • Fuel feelings. Mediation could increase negative habits of a spouse with a propensity for physical/mental or drugs/alcohol abuse.

Couples typically hear about the marvels of mediation and how it is apparently a better, less contentious, less pricey and more “dignified” method to get a divorce. My biggest issue with mediation is that the sole function and objective of the mediator is to get the celebrations to come to an arrangement– any arrangement! Unless both celebrations can be relatively reasonable and amicable (and if they can be, why are they getting separated???), I believe that mediation is usually not a feasible choice for many ladies.

Collaborative Divorce

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

During a collaborative divorce both you and your spouse will each employ a lawyer who has been trained in the collective divorce procedure. The function of the lawyers in a collective divorce is quite different than in a conventional divorce. Each lawyer recommends and helps their client in negotiating a settlement contract. You will consult with your attorney individually and you and your attorney will also meet your hubby and his lawyer. The collaborative procedure may likewise include other neutral professionals such as a divorce monetary organizer who will help both of you overcome your financial problems and a coach or therapist who can help guide both of you through child custody and other emotionally charged problems.

In the collaborative procedure, you, your spouse and your respective attorneys 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 takes place, both you and your spouse need to begin all over once again and discover new lawyers. Neither celebration can utilize the very same attorneys again!

Even if the collective procedure achieves success, you will typically have to appear in family court so a judge can sign the arrangement. The legal procedure can be much quicker and less costly than standard lawsuits if the collective procedure works.

Though, I have discovered that the collaborative method often doesn’t work well to settle divorces including complex monetary situations or when there are substantial possessions. In collaborative divorce, simply as in mediation, all monetary info (income, possessions and liabilities) is revealed willingly. What’s more, many high net worth divorces involve services and professional practices where it is reasonably easy to conceal assets and earnings.

… as a basic rule, my suggestion is this:

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

  • You think your husband is hiding assets/income.
  • Your partner is prideful, and you have problem speaking out 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 spouse has a drug/alcohol dependency.

Litigated Divorce

The fourth divorce choice is the most typical. Nowadays, most of divorcing couples select the “standard” model of litigated divorce.

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

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 circumstance right from the start and typically disqualifies mediation and collective divorce, given that both methods rely on the complete cooperation of both parties and the voluntary disclosure of all financial info.

Clearly, if you are starting out with an adversarial and extremely mentally charged situation, the possibilities are really high that cooperation or mediation may stop working. Why take the risk of going those paths when odds are they might stop working, squandering your time and money?

The most essential and most challenging parts of any divorce are concerning an arrangement on kid custody, division of assets and liabilities and alimony payments (just how much and for the length of time). Although you desire your attorney to be a highly competent negotiator, you do not want someone who is overly combative, ready to fight over anything and everything. An extremely contentious method will not just lengthen the discomfort and significantly increase your legal charges, it will likewise be mentally destructive to everybody involved, especially the kids.

Keep in mind: The majority of divorce attorneys (or a minimum of the ones I would suggest) will constantly make every effort to come to a reasonable settlement with the other party. However if they can’t pertain to an affordable settlement or if the other celebration is completely unreasonable then, unfortunately, litigating, or threatening to do so, might be the only way to solve these issues.

Up till that point both attorneys were “negotiators,” attempting to get the celebrations to jeopardize and come to some reasonable resolution. When in court, the role of each attorney changes.

And don’t forget, once you remain 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 money and how you live your life. That’s a huge danger for both parties to take– which’s likewise why the hazard of litigating is typically such an excellent deterrent.

Here’s my last word of recommendations about divorce alternatives: Weigh divorce alternatives thoroughly. The bottom line is that every family, and every divorce, is various. Undoubtedly, if you are able to work with your partner to make decisions and both of you are truthful and sensible, then mediation or the collective method may be best. If you have doubts, it is excellent to be all set with “Strategy B” which would be the prosecuted divorce.

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