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The Four Divorce Alternatives

Divorce mediation

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

If you’re a female who’s considering divorce, you have several options about how to proceed. In general terms, you require to think about 4 broad classifications of divorce options: Do-It-Yourself (DIY), Mediation, Collaborative and Litigation. Let’s have a look at the benefits and drawbacks of each one.

Do-It-Yourself Divorce

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

The only situation I can visualize when a Do-It-Yourself divorce might make any possible sense, may be in a case where the marital relationship lasted only 2 or three years and there are no kids, little or no assets/debts to be divided, equivalent incomes and no spousal support. In a case like that, a Diy divorce could be achieved rather rapidly and inexpensively.


In divorce mediation, a divorcing couple works with a neutral mediator who assists both parties pertain to a contract on all elements of their divorce. The conciliator might or may not be a lawyer, but he/she must be exceptionally fluent in divorce and family law. In addition, it is important for the arbitrator to be neutral and not promote for either celebration. Both parties still need to seek advice from their own, specific lawyers throughout the mediation and prior to signing the final divorce settlement agreement.

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 much better long-lasting relationship with your ex-husband given that you will not “battle” in court.
  • Be simpler on kids since the divorce proceedings may be more tranquil.
  • Speed up a contract.
  • Reduce costs.
  • Assist you remain in control of your divorce because you are making the decisions (and the court isn’t).
  • Enable more discretion. Mediation is private; prosecuted divorce is public.

However, on the “con” side, divorce mediation might likewise:

  • Waste time and money. If settlements stop working, you’ll require to start all over.
  • Be incomplete or unduly favorable to one partner. If the mediator is inexperienced or prejudiced towards your other half, the result could be undesirable for you.
  • Result in an unenforceable arrangement. A mediation arrangement that’s uneven or inadequately prepared can be challenged.
  • Cause legal issues. Any concern of law will still require to be ruled upon by the court.
  • Fail to reveal particular possessions. Considering that all monetary information is voluntarily divulged and there is no subpoena of records, your spouse could potentially conceal assets/income.
  • Enhance unhealthy habits patterns. If one partner is dominating and the other is submissive, the last settlement may not be fair.
  • Fuel emotions. Mediation might increase unfavorable habits of a partner with a propensity for physical/mental or drugs/alcohol abuse.

Couples typically find out about the marvels of mediation and how it is reportedly a much better, less controversial, cheaper and more “dignified” way to get a divorce. My biggest problem with mediation is that the sole role and goal of the conciliator is to get the celebrations to come to a contract– any agreement! Remember, the mediator can not offer any recommendations. All they can do is attempt to get you to agree. Sadly, not all contracts are great contracts, and in fact, in most cases, no arrangement is better than a bad agreement. So unless both parties can be relatively affordable and amicable (and if they can be, why are they getting separated???), I believe that mediation is normally not a feasible choice for many women.

Collective Divorce

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

During a collaborative divorce both you and your husband will each employ an attorney who has been trained in the collective divorce procedure. The function of the attorneys in a collective divorce is rather various than in a conventional divorce.

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

Even if the collaborative process succeeds, you will usually need to appear in family court so a judge can sign the contract. However the legal process can be much quicker and more economical than conventional litigation if the collaborative procedure works.

Though, I have discovered that the collective technique often does not work well to settle divorces involving complex monetary situations or when there are considerable possessions. In collective divorce, simply as in mediation, all monetary info (income, assets and liabilities) is divulged willingly. What’s more, lots of high net worth divorces include organizations and professional practices where it is reasonably easy to conceal possessions and income.

… as a basic guideline, my suggestion is this:

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

  • You think your spouse is concealing assets/income.
  • Your spouse is domineering, and you have problem speaking up or you’re afraid to voice your opinions.
  • There is a history or risk 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 fourth divorce option is the most common. These days, the majority of separating couples pick the “traditional” design of prosecuted divorce.

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

Why are lawsuits a part of divorce? Due to the fact that contrary to popular belief, divorce usually does not involve 2 people equally agreeing to end their marriage. In 80 percent of cases, the choice to divorce is unilateral– one party desires the divorce and the other does not. That, by its very nature, develops an adversarial situation right from the start and typically disqualifies mediation and collective divorce, given that both methods count on the full cooperation of both celebrations and the voluntary disclosure of all monetary information.

Plainly, if you are beginning with an adversarial and highly emotionally charged scenario, the possibilities are very high that collaboration or mediation might stop working. Why take the risk of going those paths when odds are they might stop working, squandering your money and time?

The most crucial and most challenging parts of any divorce are concerning an arrangement on kid custody, division of properties and liabilities and spousal support payments (how much and for for how long). You desire your lawyer to be a highly proficient mediator, you do not want someone who is excessively combative, all set to fight over anything and everything. An excessively controversial method will not just extend the discomfort and significantly increase your legal costs, it will also be emotionally damaging to everyone included, especially the kids.

Remember: Many divorce lawyers (or at least the ones I would recommend) will always aim to come to an affordable settlement with the other celebration. If they can’t come to a reasonable settlement or if the other party is entirely unreasonable then, sadly, going to court, or threatening to do so, might be the only method to resolve these problems.

If you have tried everything else, and you do end up in court, things can get actually nasty and hostile. Up until that point both attorneys were “negotiators,” attempting to get the celebrations to jeopardize and concern some affordable resolution. As soon as in court, the role of each lawyer changes. Settlements and compromise move to the back burner. Their new job is to “win” and get the very best possible outcome for their client.

And don’t 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 kids, your home, your cash and how you live your life. That’s a huge risk for both celebrations to take– which’s likewise why the danger of litigating is typically such a great deterrent.

Here’s my last word of advice about divorce alternatives: Weigh divorce choices carefully. If you have doubts, it is good to be ready with “Strategy B” which would be the litigated divorce.

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