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The 4 Divorce Alternatives

Divorce mediation

No 2 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 woman who’s pondering divorce, you have a number of alternatives about how to proceed. In general terms, you require to think about 4 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 guidance I can provide you about Do-It-Yourself Divorce, is DON’T Do-It-Yourself!

The only scenario I can visualize when a Do-It-Yourself divorce may make any possible sense, might be in a case where the marital relationship lasted only 2 or three years and there are no children, little or no assets/debts to be divided, comparable earnings and no alimony. In a case like that, a Do-It-Yourself divorce could be achieved rather quickly and inexpensively.


In divorce mediation, a divorcing couple deals with a neutral mediator who helps both celebrations concern an arrangement on all aspects of their divorce. The conciliator may or might not be a legal representative, however he/she needs to be exceptionally skilled in divorce and family law. In addition, it is critical for the mediator to be neutral and not advocate for either party. Both parties still need to consult with their own, private lawyers throughout the mediation and prior to signing the final divorce settlement arrangement.

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

On the “professional” side, divorce mediation might:

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

On the “con” side, divorce mediation may:

  • Lose time and money. If negotiations stop working, you’ll need to begin all over.
  • Be incomplete or unduly beneficial to one partner. If the arbitrator is unskilled or prejudiced towards your hubby, the result could be undesirable for you.
  • Lead to an unenforceable contract. A mediation contract that’s uneven or inadequately drafted can be challenged.
  • Lead to legal problems. Any concern of law will still need to be ruled upon by the court.
  • Fail to discover particular properties. Because all financial details is voluntarily disclosed and there is no subpoena of records, your partner could potentially hide assets/income.
  • Strengthen unhealthy behavior patterns. If one spouse is controling and the other is submissive, the last settlement may not be reasonable.
  • Fuel feelings. Mediation might increase unfavorable habits of a partner 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” way to get a divorce. My biggest problem with mediation is that the sole function and objective of the mediator is to get the parties to come to an agreement– any arrangement! Unless both celebrations can be relatively affordable and amicable (and if they can be, why are they getting separated???), I think that mediation is typically not a practical option for a lot of ladies.

Collective Divorce

Put simply, collaborative divorce happens when a couple agrees to exercise a divorce settlement without litigating.

Throughout a collective divorce both you and your spouse will each work with a lawyer who has been trained in the collective divorce procedure. The function of the attorneys in a collaborative divorce is rather different than in a conventional divorce.

In the collective procedure, you, your spouse and your particular attorneys all must sign a contract that needs that both lawyers withdraw from the case if a settlement is not reached and/or if litigation is threatened. If this takes place, both you and your partner need to begin all over again and discover new lawyers. Neither celebration can utilize the very same lawyers once again!

Even if the collective process is successful, 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 expensive than conventional litigation if the collaborative procedure works.

However, I have actually discovered that the collective technique typically does not work well to settle divorces including complex monetary situations or when there are considerable possessions. In collective divorce, just as in mediation, all monetary details (income, properties and liabilities) is disclosed willingly. Typically the other half manages the “handbag strings,” and the better half is typically uninformed of the information of their monetary circumstance. When this kind of inequality exists, the door is often wide open for the partner to hide properties. What’s more, many high net worth divorces involve companies and expert practices where it is reasonably easy to conceal possessions and earnings. Furthermore, the issue of appraisal can be rather controversial.

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

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

  • You believe your husband is hiding assets/income.
  • Your husband is domineering, and you have problem speaking out or you hesitate to voice your viewpoints.
  • There is a history or danger of domestic violence (physical and/or psychological) towards you and/or your children.
  • You or your partner has a drug/alcohol dependency.

Litigated Divorce

The 4th divorce choice is the most common. Nowadays, the majority of separating couples choose the “standard” design of prosecuted divorce.

Remember, however, “prosecuted” does not imply the divorce ends up in court. The large majority of all divorce cases (more than 95 percent) reach an out-of-court settlement arrangement. “Litigation” is a legal term significance ‘carrying out 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, produces an adversarial circumstance right from the start and frequently disqualifies mediation and collaborative divorce, since both techniques rely on the complete cooperation of both parties and the voluntary disclosure of all financial information.

Plainly, if you are beginning with an adversarial and highly mentally charged circumstance, the possibilities are really high that collaboration or mediation might fail. Why take the risk of going those routes when odds are they might stop working, losing your time and money?

The most crucial and most challenging parts of any divorce are coming to an agreement on kid custody, department of assets and liabilities and spousal support payments (just how much and for the length of time). You want your attorney to be a highly knowledgeable negotiator, you don’t desire someone who is excessively combative, ready to battle over anything and whatever. An overly controversial method will not only extend the pain and substantially increase your legal costs, it will also be mentally detrimental to everyone involved, especially the kids.

Remember: Most divorce attorneys (or a minimum of the ones I would recommend) will always aim to come to a reasonable settlement with the other party. If they can’t come to a reasonable settlement or if the other party is totally unreasonable then, unfortunately, going to court, or threatening to do so, may be the only way to fix these issues.

If you have tried everything else, and you do end up in court, things can get truly nasty and hostile. Up until that point both lawyers were “negotiators,” trying to get the celebrations to jeopardize and pertain to some affordable resolution. But once in court, the role of each attorney changes. Negotiations and compromise move to the back burner. Their brand-new task is to “win” and get the best possible outcome for their client.

And do not 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 decisions about your kids, your residential or commercial property, your money and how you live your life. That’s a huge danger for both celebrations to take– which’s likewise why the threat of litigating is normally such an excellent deterrent.

Here’s my last word of recommendations about divorce alternatives: Weigh divorce alternatives thoroughly. If you have doubts, it is great to be ready with “Strategy B” which would be the prosecuted divorce.

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