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The Four Divorce Alternatives

Divorce mediation

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

In fact, if you’re a woman who’s pondering divorce, you have numerous options about how to continue. In general terms, you need to consider 4 broad classifications of divorce options: Do-It-Yourself (DIY), Mediation, Collaborative and Litigation. Let’s have a look at the pros and cons of every one.

Do-It-Yourself Divorce

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

The only situation I can imagine when a Do-It-Yourself divorce might make any possible sense, may be in a case where the marriage lasted only two or 3 years and there are no children, little or no assets/debts to be divided, similar earnings and no alimony. In a case like that, a Diy divorce might be achieved rather rapidly and cheaply.


In divorce mediation, a divorcing couple works with a neutral conciliator who helps both celebrations come to an agreement on all aspects of their divorce. Both parties still require to consult with their own, individual lawyers throughout the mediation and prior to signing the last divorce settlement contract.

Here are a couple of benefits and drawbacks to consider before deciding if mediation will work for you.

On the “professional” side, divorce mediation might:

  • Lead to a much better long-lasting relationship with your ex-husband given that you will not “combat” in court.
  • Be simpler on kids since the divorce procedures may be more serene.
  • Expedite a contract.
  • Reduce costs.
  • Assist you stay in control of your divorce because you are making the decisions (and the court isn’t).
  • Enable more discretion. Mediation is personal; prosecuted divorce is public.

On the “con” side, divorce mediation may:

  • Lose time and cash. If negotiations stop working, you’ll require to begin all over.
  • Be insufficient or unduly beneficial to one partner. If the arbitrator is unskilled or biased towards your hubby, the outcome could be unfavorable for you.
  • Lead to an unenforceable agreement. A mediation contract that’s uneven or inadequately drafted can be challenged.
  • Lead to legal issues. Any concern of law will still need to be ruled upon by the court.
  • Fail to uncover particular properties. Considering that all monetary details is voluntarily divulged and there is no subpoena of records, your partner could possibly hide assets/income.
  • Reinforce unhealthy behavior patterns. If one partner is controling and the other is submissive, the final settlement might not be reasonable.
  • Fuel emotions. Mediation could increase unfavorable behavior of a partner with a propensity for physical/mental or drugs/alcohol abuse.

Couples typically hear about the wonders of mediation and how it is reportedly a better, less contentious, less costly and more “dignified” way to get a divorce. My biggest issue with mediation is that the sole function and goal of the mediator is to get the parties to come to an arrangement– any contract! Unless both parties can be fairly affordable and friendly (and if they can be, why are they getting separated???), I believe that mediation is generally not a viable choice for a lot of women.

Collective Divorce

Put simply, collective divorce occurs when a couple consents to work out a divorce settlement without litigating.

Throughout a collaborative divorce both you and your spouse will each employ an attorney who has actually been trained in the collective divorce procedure. The function of the lawyers in a collaborative divorce is rather different than in a traditional divorce.

In the collaborative process, you, your other half and your respective attorneys all should sign an arrangement that requires that both lawyers withdraw from the case if a settlement is not reached and/or if lawsuits is threatened. If this happens, both you and your other half need to start all over once again and find brand-new attorneys. Neither party can use the very same attorneys once again!

Even if the collaborative procedure succeeds, you will usually have to appear in family court so a judge can sign the arrangement. The legal process can be much quicker and less expensive than standard lawsuits if the collective procedure works.

However, I have found that the collective approach frequently does not work well to settle divorces involving complex financial situations or when there are significant possessions. In collective divorce, just as in mediation, all financial info (earnings, possessions and liabilities) is revealed willingly. Often the partner controls the “bag strings,” and the better half is generally unaware of the details of their monetary circumstance. When this type of inequality exists, the door is typically wide open for the spouse to hide assets. What’s more, numerous high net worth divorces involve organizations and professional practices where it is reasonably simple to conceal possessions and earnings. Furthermore, the concern of appraisal can be rather controversial.

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

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

  • You believe your hubby is hiding assets/income.
  • Your husband is aggressive, and you have trouble speaking out or you’re afraid to voice your opinions.
  • There is a history or risk of domestic violence (physical and/or mental) towards you and/or your kids.
  • You or your other half has a drug/alcohol addiction.

Litigated Divorce

The 4th divorce option is the most typical. Nowadays, most of separating couples pick the “standard” design of prosecuted divorce.

Bear in mind, though, “prosecuted” does not imply the divorce ends up in court. In fact, the huge majority of all divorce cases (more than 95 percent) reach an out-of-court settlement contract. “Litigation” is a legal term meaning ‘carrying out a claim.’

In 80 percent of cases, the choice to divorce is unilateral– one celebration wants the divorce and the other does not. That, by its very nature, develops an adversarial situation right from the start and often disqualifies mediation and collaborative divorce, since both methods rely on the full cooperation of both parties and the voluntary disclosure of all financial details.

Plainly, if you are starting with an adversarial and highly emotionally charged scenario, the possibilities are really high that cooperation or mediation may stop working. Why take the threat of going those paths when chances are they might fail, wasting your time and money?

The most crucial and most hard parts of any divorce are coming to an agreement on child custody, division of possessions and liabilities and alimony payments (just how much and for the length of time). You desire your lawyer to be an extremely skilled arbitrator, you do not desire someone who is overly combative, all set to battle over anything and everything. An overly contentious technique will not only extend the pain and substantially increase your legal charges, it will likewise be emotionally detrimental to everybody included, specifically the children.

Remember: Many divorce attorneys (or at least the ones I would advise) will always make every effort to come to an affordable settlement with the other celebration. However if they can’t come to a reasonable settlement or if the other celebration is totally unreasonable then, regrettably, litigating, or threatening to do so, might be the only way to resolve these problems.

Up until that point both lawyers were “mediators,” attempting to get the celebrations to compromise and come to some sensible resolution. Once in court, the role of each lawyer changes.

And don’t forget, once you’re in court, it’s a judge who understands extremely 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 threat for both parties to take– which’s also why the threat of litigating is usually such a great deterrent.

Here’s my last word of guidance about divorce options: Weigh divorce options carefully. If you have doubts, it is excellent to be ready with “Strategy B” which would be the prosecuted divorce.

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