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The Four Divorce Alternatives

Divorce mediation

No two marital relationships are the same, and so it just follows that no 2 divorces will be the same, either.

In fact, if you’re a lady who’s considering divorce, you have a number of 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 take a look at the benefits and drawbacks of every one.

Do-It-Yourself Divorce

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

The only scenario I can visualize when a Diy 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 kids, little or no assets/debts to be divided, similar earnings and no alimony. In a case like that, a Diy divorce might be accomplished rather rapidly and inexpensively.


In divorce mediation, a separating couple works with a neutral conciliator who assists both celebrations come to an agreement on all elements of their divorce. Both parties still require to consult with their own, specific attorneys during the mediation and prior to signing the last divorce settlement agreement.

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

On the “professional” side, divorce mediation may:

  • Result in a better long-term relationship with your ex-husband since you will not “fight” in court.
  • Be much easier on kids because the divorce procedures might be more peaceful.
  • Expedite a contract.
  • Reduce costs.
  • Assist you remain in control of your divorce since you are deciding (and the court isn’t).
  • Permit more discretion. Mediation is personal; litigated divorce is public.

On the “con” side, divorce mediation might:

  • Lose time and cash. If settlements stop working, you’ll need to begin all over.
  • Be incomplete or unduly favorable to one spouse. If the conciliator is unskilled or biased towards your other half, the outcome could be unfavorable for you.
  • Result in an unenforceable arrangement. A mediation arrangement that’s lopsided or badly drafted can be challenged.
  • Cause legal problems. Any problem of law will still require to be ruled upon by the court.
  • Fail to reveal certain possessions. Given that all financial information is willingly disclosed and there is no subpoena of records, your partner might possibly conceal assets/income.
  • Strengthen 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 unfavorable habits of a spouse with a tendency for physical/mental or drugs/alcohol abuse.

Couples frequently hear about the marvels of mediation and how it is supposedly a much better, less controversial, less expensive and more “dignified” way to get a divorce. My biggest issue with mediation is that the sole role and goal of the arbitrator is to get the celebrations to come to an agreement– any contract! Unless both parties can be relatively reasonable and friendly (and if they can be, why are they getting divorced???), I believe that mediation is generally not a viable alternative for a lot of ladies.

Collaborative Divorce

Put simply, collaborative divorce takes place when a couple consents to work out a divorce settlement without going to court.

During a collaborative divorce both you and your other half will each employ a lawyer who has actually been trained in the collaborative divorce process. The role of the lawyers in a collective divorce is rather various than in a conventional divorce.

In the collaborative process, you, your hubby and your respective lawyers all must sign an arrangement that requires that both attorneys withdraw from the case if a settlement is not reached and/or if lawsuits is threatened. If this happens, both you and your hubby should begin all over again and find brand-new lawyers. Neither celebration can use the exact same attorneys again!

Even if the collaborative process achieves success, you will usually have to appear in family court so a judge can sign the contract. The legal process can be much quicker and less costly than conventional lawsuits if the collective process works.

Though, I have actually found that the collaborative method often doesn’t work well to settle divorces involving complex financial situations or when there are considerable properties. In collaborative divorce, simply as in mediation, all financial info (income, possessions and liabilities) is revealed voluntarily. What’s more, lots of high net worth divorces include companies and expert practices where it is reasonably easy to conceal properties and income.

… as a general guideline, my suggestion is this:

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

  • You presume your spouse is hiding assets/income.
  • Your hubby is domineering, 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 psychological) towards you and/or your kids.
  • You or your hubby has a drug/alcohol dependency.

Litigated Divorce

The 4th divorce choice is the most common. These days, most of divorcing couples pick the “standard” model of litigated divorce.

Remember, though, “litigated” does not imply the divorce winds 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 claim.’

In 80 percent of cases, the choice to divorce is unilateral– one party wants the divorce and the other does not. That, by its very nature, produces an adversarial circumstance right from the start and frequently disqualifies mediation and collective divorce, since both approaches rely on the full cooperation of both celebrations and the voluntary disclosure of all monetary info.

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

The most essential and most hard parts of any divorce are concerning an arrangement on kid custody, division of assets and liabilities and spousal support payments (how much and for the length of time). Although you want your lawyer to be an extremely skilled mediator, you don’t want someone who is overly combative, ready to combat over anything and everything. An excessively contentious method will not only extend the pain and substantially increase your legal costs, it will also be mentally damaging to everybody included, specifically the children.

Remember: Many divorce lawyers (or at least the ones I would suggest) will constantly strive to come to a sensible settlement with the other party. But if they can’t concern an affordable settlement or if the other party is completely unreasonable then, regrettably, litigating, or threatening to do so, might be the only way to solve these issues.

Up until that point both attorneys were “negotiators,” trying to get the celebrations to compromise and come to some reasonable resolution. As soon as in court, the function of each lawyer modifications.

And do not forget, as soon as you’re in court, it’s a judge who knows very little about you and your family that will make the decisions about your children, your property, your money and how you live your life. That’s a very big threat for both celebrations to take– and that’s likewise why the danger of litigating is generally such an excellent deterrent.

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

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