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The 4 Divorce Alternatives

Divorce mediation

No two marriages are the same, therefore it just follows that no 2 divorces will be the same, either.

If you’re a female who’s contemplating divorce, you have a number of alternatives about how to proceed. In general terms, you need to consider four broad categories of divorce options: Do-It-Yourself (Do It Yourself), Mediation, Collaborative and Litigation. Let’s take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of each one.

Do-It-Yourself Divorce

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

Divorce is very complicated, both lawfully and financially. You can quickly make errors, and frequently those mistakes are irreversible. The only situation I can imagine when a Do-It-Yourself divorce might make any possible sense, might be in a case where the marriage 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 Diy divorce could be achieved rather rapidly and cheaply. However, I would still extremely recommend that each celebration have their own different lawyer review the last files.


In divorce mediation, a separating couple deals with a neutral arbitrator who assists both celebrations concern a contract on all aspects of their divorce. The conciliator might or might not be a lawyer, but he/she needs to be extremely skilled in divorce and family law. In addition, it is important for the conciliator to be neutral and not promote for either party. Both parties still need to speak with their own, individual lawyers throughout the mediation and prior to signing the final divorce settlement contract.

Here are a few benefits and drawbacks to consider prior to choosing if mediation will work for you.

On the “professional” side, divorce mediation may:

  • Result in a better long-lasting relationship with your ex-husband given that you will not “battle” in court.
  • Be much easier on kids given that the divorce procedures may be more peaceful.
  • Speed up an arrangement.
  • Reduce expenses.
  • Assist you stay in control of your divorce due to the fact that you are deciding (and the court isn’t).
  • Permit more discretion. Mediation is private; prosecuted divorce is public.

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

  • Waste time and money. If settlements fail, you’ll need to start all over.
  • Be incomplete or unduly beneficial to one spouse. If the mediator is inexperienced or prejudiced towards your partner, the result could be unfavorable for you.
  • Lead to an unenforceable agreement. A mediation contract that’s lopsided or improperly drafted can be challenged.
  • Cause legal complications. Any concern of law will still need to be ruled upon by the court.
  • Fail to discover certain possessions. Since all financial details is voluntarily divulged and there is no subpoena of records, your hubby might possibly conceal assets/income.
  • Reinforce unhealthy habits patterns. If one spouse is controling and the other is submissive, the last settlement may not be reasonable.
  • Fuel emotions. Mediation could increase unfavorable behavior of a spouse with a propensity for physical/mental or drugs/alcohol abuse.

Couples frequently hear about the wonders of mediation and how it is supposedly a much better, less contentious, less expensive and more “dignified” way to get a divorce. My biggest problem with mediation is that the sole role and objective of the arbitrator is to get the parties to come to a contract– any arrangement! Unless both celebrations can be fairly reasonable and friendly (and if they can be, why are they getting divorced???), I believe that mediation is usually not a viable option for many ladies.

Collaborative Divorce

Simply put, collaborative divorce takes place when a couple accepts exercise a divorce settlement without litigating.

During a collaborative divorce both you and your husband will each hire an attorney who has been trained in the collaborative divorce process. The role of the lawyers in a collective divorce is rather different than in a traditional divorce. Each attorney recommends and assists their client in working out a settlement agreement. You will consult with your lawyer separately and you and your lawyer will likewise meet with your other half and his lawyer. The collaborative procedure may likewise include other neutral specialists such as a divorce financial planner who will help both of you resolve your monetary issues and a coach or therapist who can assist direct both of you through child custody and other emotionally charged issues.

In the collaborative process, you, your hubby and your particular lawyers all need to sign an agreement that requires that both attorneys withdraw from the case if a settlement is not reached and/or if lawsuits is threatened. If this occurs, both you and your hubby should begin all over again and find new lawyers. Neither party can utilize the exact same attorneys again!

Even if the collective process achieves success, you will normally need to appear in family court so a judge can sign the contract. However the legal process can be much quicker and cheaper than traditional litigation if the collective procedure works.

However, I have actually found that the collaborative technique often does not work well to settle divorces including complex financial situations or when there are considerable assets. In collaborative divorce, just as in mediation, all monetary information (income, possessions and liabilities) is revealed voluntarily. Typically the hubby manages the “bag strings,” and the wife is typically uninformed of the details of their monetary situation. When this type of inequality exists, the door is frequently wide open for the spouse to hide assets. What’s more, many high net worth divorces involve companies and professional practices where it is relatively simple to hide properties and earnings. Additionally, the issue of appraisal can be rather controversial.

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

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

  • You think your spouse is concealing assets/income.
  • Your partner is domineering, and you have difficulty speaking out or you’re afraid to voice your viewpoints.
  • There is a history or danger of domestic violence (physical and/or psychological) towards you and/or your kids.
  • You or your spouse has a drug/alcohol dependency.

Litigated Divorce

The fourth divorce alternative is the most common. These days, the majority of separating couples select the “standard” model of litigated divorce.

Remember, however, “litigated” 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. “Litigation” is a legal term meaning ‘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, develops an adversarial scenario right from the start and frequently disqualifies mediation and collective divorce, given that both approaches rely on the full cooperation of both parties and the voluntary disclosure of all financial details.

Clearly, if you are starting out with an adversarial and highly mentally charged situation, 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, squandering your time and money?

The most important and most hard parts of any divorce are pertaining to an arrangement on kid custody, department of assets and liabilities and alimony payments (just how much and for the length of time). You want your attorney to be a highly knowledgeable arbitrator, you do not desire somebody who is extremely combative, prepared to combat over anything and whatever. An overly contentious method will not just extend the discomfort and considerably increase your legal fees, it will also be mentally harmful to everybody involved, particularly the kids.

Keep in mind: A lot of divorce lawyers (or at least the ones I would suggest) will always make every effort to come to an affordable settlement with the other party. If they can’t come to a reasonable settlement or if the other party is completely unreasonable then, sadly, going to court, or threatening to do so, might be the only method to solve these issues.

If you have actually attempted everything else, and you do wind up in court, things can get truly nasty and hostile. Up till that point both lawyers were “negotiators,” trying to get the celebrations to jeopardize and concern some affordable resolution. Once in court, the function of each attorney modifications. Negotiations and compromise relocate to the back burner. Their brand-new job is to “win” and get the best possible outcome for their client.

And don’t forget, as soon as you’re in court, it’s a judge who understands very little about you and your family that will make the decisions about your kids, your home, your money and how you live your life. That’s a huge threat for both parties to take– and that’s likewise why the danger of litigating is normally such a good deterrent.

Here’s my last word of advice about divorce options: Weigh divorce options thoroughly. The bottom line is that every family, and every divorce, is different. Obviously, if you have the ability to deal with your spouse to make decisions and both of you are truthful and affordable, then mediation or the collective method might be best. But, if you have doubts, it is excellent to be ready with “Fallback” which would be the prosecuted divorce.

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