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The Four Divorce Alternatives

Divorce mediation

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

In fact, if you’re a woman who’s considering divorce, you have several options about how to proceed. In general terms, you need to think about 4 broad classifications 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 guidance I can offer you about Do-It-Yourself Divorce, is DON’T Do-It-Yourself!

The only scenario I can envision when a Diy divorce might make any possible sense, might be in a case where the marriage lasted only two or three years and there are no kids, little or no assets/debts to be divided, similar earnings and no spousal support. In a case like that, a Do-It-Yourself divorce could be accomplished quite rapidly and cheaply.


In divorce mediation, a separating couple works with a neutral mediator who assists both parties concern an arrangement on all elements of their divorce. The conciliator might or might not be a legal representative, however he/she should be extremely well-versed in divorce and family law. In addition, it is critical for the mediator to be neutral and not advocate for either celebration. Both celebrations still need to consult with their own, individual lawyers during the mediation and prior to signing the last divorce settlement contract.

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

On the “pro” side, divorce mediation might:

  • Lead to a much better long-term relationship with your ex-husband since you will not “fight” in court.
  • Be simpler on kids because the divorce procedures may be more serene.
  • Speed up an arrangement.
  • Reduce expenditures.
  • Help you stay in control of your divorce since 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 settlements stop working, you’ll require to start all over.
  • Be incomplete or unduly beneficial to one partner. If the arbitrator is inexperienced or biased towards your partner, the outcome could be undesirable for you.
  • Lead to an unenforceable arrangement. A mediation contract that’s uneven or improperly drafted can be challenged.
  • Result in legal complications. Any problem of law will still require to be ruled upon by the court.
  • Fail to reveal specific properties. Because all monetary details is willingly revealed and there is no subpoena of records, your spouse might possibly hide assets/income.
  • Reinforce unhealthy habits patterns. If one spouse is controling and the other is submissive, the final settlement might not be fair.
  • Fuel emotions. Mediation might increase unfavorable behavior of a spouse with a tendency for physical/mental or drugs/alcohol abuse.

Couples typically find out about the wonders of mediation and how it is reportedly a much better, less controversial, less expensive and more “dignified” way to get a divorce. However, my greatest issue with mediation is that the sole function and objective of the arbitrator is to get the parties to come to an arrangement– any arrangement! Remember, the conciliator can not offer any recommendations. All they can do is try to get you to concur. Unfortunately, not all agreements are excellent contracts, and in fact, oftentimes, no agreement is much better than a bad arrangement. Unless both celebrations can be relatively sensible and friendly (and if they can be, why are they getting divorced???), I believe that mediation is generally not a viable option for most women.

Collaborative Divorce

Put simply, collective divorce occurs when a couple accepts exercise 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 rather different than in a conventional divorce. Each lawyer recommends and assists their client in working out a settlement agreement. You will meet with your lawyer independently and you and your lawyer will also meet your husband and his attorney. The collaborative procedure may also include other neutral professionals such as a divorce financial organizer who will assist both of you work through your monetary issues and a coach or therapist who can assist guide both of you through child custody and other mentally charged issues.

In the collective procedure, you, your spouse and your respective lawyers all should sign a contract 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 need to start all over again and find new attorneys. Neither celebration can utilize the very same lawyers again!

Even if the collaborative procedure is successful, you will typically need to appear in family court so a judge can sign the arrangement. The legal procedure can be much quicker and less costly than traditional lawsuits if the collective procedure works.

Though, I have actually found that the collaborative method often does not work well to settle divorces including complicated monetary scenarios or when there are considerable assets. In collective divorce, just as in mediation, all financial information (earnings, properties and liabilities) is revealed voluntarily. Often the hubby manages the “handbag strings,” and the spouse is usually uninformed of the information of their monetary circumstance. When this type of inequality exists, the door is typically wide open for the other half to hide assets. What’s more, numerous high net worth divorces involve organizations and expert practices where it is fairly easy to hide properties and earnings. Additionally, the concern of appraisal can be quite contentious.

… as a basic guideline, my recommendation is this:

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

  • You believe your partner is concealing assets/income.
  • Your spouse is aggressive, and you have difficulty speaking up or you hesitate to voice your opinions.
  • There is a history or danger of domestic violence (physical and/or psychological) towards you and/or your children.
  • You or your hubby has a drug/alcohol dependency.

Litigated Divorce

The fourth divorce choice is the most typical. These days, most of separating couples pick the “standard” design of prosecuted divorce.

Remember, however, “prosecuted” does not indicate the divorce winds up in court. The huge majority of all divorce cases (more than 95 percent) reach an out-of-court settlement agreement. “Lawsuits” is a legal term significance ‘performing a lawsuit.’

Why are suits a part of divorce? Because contrary to popular belief, divorce typically does not include two people mutually accepting end their marriage. In 80 percent of cases, the decision to divorce is unilateral– one celebration desires the divorce and the other does not. That, by its very nature, creates an adversarial circumstance right from the start and often disqualifies mediation and collective divorce, considering that both approaches rely on the complete cooperation of both celebrations and the voluntary disclosure of all financial info.

Clearly, if you are beginning with an adversarial and extremely emotionally charged situation, the chances are extremely high that cooperation or mediation may stop working. Why take the risk of going those routes when chances are they might stop working, wasting your money and time?

The most essential and most tough parts of any divorce are coming to an arrangement on kid custody, division of assets and liabilities and alimony payments (just how much and for for how long). Although you desire your attorney to be an extremely competent negotiator, you do not desire someone who is extremely combative, all set to fight over anything and everything. An overly contentious approach will not just extend the pain and significantly increase your legal charges, it will also be emotionally harmful to everyone involved, particularly the kids.

Remember: A lot of divorce lawyers (or a minimum of the ones I would recommend) will always aim to come to a sensible settlement with the other celebration. But if they can’t pertain to a sensible settlement or if the other celebration is entirely unreasonable then, sadly, litigating, or threatening to do so, might be the only method to solve these problems.

Up until that point both attorneys were “mediators,” attempting to get the celebrations to jeopardize and come to some sensible resolution. As soon as in court, the function of each attorney modifications.

And do not forget, as soon as you remain in court, it’s a judge who knows extremely 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 risk for both celebrations to take– and that’s also why the hazard of going to court is usually such an excellent deterrent.

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

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