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The 4 Divorce Alternatives

Divorce mediation

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

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

Do-It-Yourself Divorce

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

Divorce is extremely made complex, both legally and financially. You can quickly make mistakes, and frequently those mistakes are irreparable. The only situation I can imagine when a Do-It-Yourself divorce may make any possible sense, might be in a case where the marriage lasted just two 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 accomplished quite quickly and cheaply. Nonetheless, I would still highly suggest that each party have their own separate attorney review the final files.


In divorce mediation, a divorcing couple works with a neutral mediator who assists both celebrations come to an arrangement on all elements of their divorce. The mediator may or might not be an attorney, however he/she must be exceptionally well-versed in divorce and family law. In addition, it is vital for the conciliator to be neutral and not advocate for either celebration. Both celebrations still need to talk to their own, individual attorneys during the mediation and prior to signing the last divorce settlement contract.

Here are a couple of pros and cons to think about before 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 because you will not “fight” in court.
  • Be simpler on kids given that the divorce procedures might be more peaceful.
  • Accelerate an agreement.
  • Reduce expenditures.
  • Help you stay in control of your divorce because you are deciding (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 money. If negotiations fail, you’ll need to start all over.
  • Be insufficient or unduly favorable to one spouse. If the arbitrator is inexperienced or prejudiced towards your spouse, the result could be unfavorable for you.
  • Result in an unenforceable agreement. A mediation contract that’s lopsided or improperly prepared can be challenged.
  • Result in legal issues. Any issue of law will still require to be ruled upon by the court.
  • Fail to reveal particular properties. Since all monetary info is willingly disclosed and there is no subpoena of records, your spouse could possibly conceal assets/income.
  • Enhance unhealthy behavior patterns. If one partner is controling and the other is submissive, the last settlement may not be reasonable.
  • Fuel emotions. Mediation could increase negative behavior of a spouse with a propensity for physical/mental or drugs/alcohol abuse.

Couples often become aware of the wonders of mediation and how it is apparently a better, less contentious, less expensive and more “dignified” way to get a divorce. Nevertheless, my most significant issue with mediation is that the sole function and objective of the conciliator is to get the celebrations to come to a contract– any contract! Remember, the conciliator can not offer any suggestions. All they can do is try to get you to concur. Not all contracts are good contracts, and in truth, in numerous cases, no arrangement is better than a bad arrangement. Unless both celebrations can be relatively sensible and friendly (and if they can be, why are they getting separated???), I think that mediation is usually not a viable alternative for a lot of women.

Collective Divorce

Put simply, collaborative divorce occurs when a couple accepts 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 been trained in the collaborative divorce process. The role of the lawyers in a collaborative divorce is rather various than in a traditional divorce.

In the collaborative procedure, you, your hubby and your respective lawyers all should sign an agreement that requires that both lawyers withdraw from the case if a settlement is not reached and/or if litigation is threatened. If this happens, both you and your spouse must start all over again and discover brand-new attorneys. Neither celebration can use the exact same attorneys once again!

Even if the collaborative procedure is successful, you will normally have to appear in family court so a judge can sign the agreement. The legal process can be much quicker and less expensive than traditional lawsuits if the collective process works.

Regrettably, though, I have actually found that the collaborative approach typically does not work well to settle divorces involving complicated monetary scenarios or when there are significant assets. In collaborative divorce, just as in mediation, all monetary information (income, properties and liabilities) is revealed voluntarily. Frequently the other half controls the “bag strings,” and the other half is generally unaware of the details of their monetary circumstance. When this sort of inequality exists, the door is typically wide open for the partner to hide assets. What’s more, lots of high net worth divorces involve organizations and professional practices where it is fairly simple to hide properties and earnings. Additionally, the concern of evaluation can be quite controversial.

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

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

  • You believe your other half is concealing assets/income.
  • Your other half is prideful, and you have trouble speaking out or you’re afraid to voice your viewpoints.
  • There is a history or hazard 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 fourth divorce alternative is the most typical. Nowadays, most of divorcing couples choose the “traditional” design of prosecuted divorce.

Bear in mind, however, “litigated” does not indicate the divorce ends up in court. The large 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 suit.’

Why are suits a part of divorce? Since contrary to popular belief, divorce usually does not involve two individuals mutually agreeing to end their marriage. 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 typically disqualifies mediation and collaborative divorce, considering that both techniques depend on the full cooperation of both parties and the voluntary disclosure of all monetary details.

Clearly, if you are starting with an adversarial and highly emotionally charged situation, the chances are very high that partnership or mediation may stop working. Why take the danger of going those routes when odds are they might fail, wasting your time and money?

The most essential and most challenging parts of any divorce are coming to an agreement on child custody, department of possessions and liabilities and spousal support payments (just how much and for how long). Although you want your lawyer to be a highly skilled negotiator, you do not desire somebody who is overly combative, ready to combat over anything and everything. An overly contentious technique will not just extend the discomfort and considerably increase your legal costs, it will also be emotionally harmful to everyone involved, especially the children.

Remember: Many divorce attorneys (or a minimum of the ones I would advise) will constantly aim to come to a reasonable settlement with the other party. But if they can’t pertain to a reasonable settlement or if the other party is totally unreasonable then, sadly, going to court, or threatening to do so, might be the only way to solve these concerns.

If you have actually tried everything else, and you do end up in court, things can get really nasty and hostile. Up until that point both lawyers were “negotiators,” attempting to get the celebrations to compromise and come to some reasonable resolution. But once in court, the function of each lawyer modifications. Settlements and compromise move to the back burner. Their brand-new job is to “win” and get the very best possible result for their client.

And don’t forget, once you remain in court, it’s a judge who understands very little about you and your family that will make the final decisions about your children, your home, your cash and how you live your life. That’s a very big threat for both parties to take– which’s likewise why the hazard of litigating is usually such a good deterrent.

Here’s my last word of recommendations about divorce alternatives: Weigh divorce options carefully. The bottom line is that every family, and every divorce, is different. Clearly, if you are able to work with your spouse to make decisions and both of you are honest and sensible, then mediation or the collaborative technique might be best. If you have doubts, it is good to be prepared with “Strategy B” which would be the litigated divorce.

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