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The 4 Divorce Alternatives

Divorce mediation

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

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

Do-It-Yourself Divorce

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

Divorce is really made complex, both lawfully and economically. You can easily make mistakes, and often those mistakes are irreparable. The only situation I can envision when a Diy divorce may make any possible sense, might be in a case where the marriage lasted just 2 or three years and there are no children, little or no assets/debts to be divided, comparable earnings and no spousal support. In a case like that, a Do-It-Yourself divorce could be accomplished quite quickly and inexpensively. However, I would still highly suggest that each party have their own different attorney review the final documents.


In divorce mediation, a divorcing couple works with a neutral arbitrator who helps both parties come to an agreement on all aspects of their divorce. Both parties still need to seek advice from with their own, specific attorneys during the mediation and prior to signing the last divorce settlement agreement.

Here are a couple of benefits and drawbacks to think about before choosing if mediation will work for you.

On the “pro” side, divorce mediation may:

  • Lead to a much better long-lasting relationship with your ex-husband since you will not “battle” in court.
  • Be much easier on kids because the divorce procedures may be more peaceful.
  • Speed up a contract.
  • Reduce costs.
  • Help you stay in control of your divorce because you are making the decisions (and the court isn’t).
  • Permit more discretion. Mediation is personal; litigated divorce is public.

However, on the “con” side, divorce mediation may also:

  • Lose time and cash. If settlements stop working, you’ll require to begin all over.
  • Be insufficient or unduly beneficial to one partner. If the arbitrator is inexperienced or prejudiced towards your other half, the outcome could be unfavorable for you.
  • Result in an unenforceable arrangement. A mediation agreement that’s lopsided or poorly drafted can be challenged.
  • Lead to legal problems. Any problem of law will still need to be ruled upon by the court.
  • Fail to uncover specific assets. Considering that all monetary information is willingly disclosed and there is no subpoena of records, your spouse might possibly hide assets/income.
  • Reinforce unhealthy habits patterns. If one spouse is dominating and the other is submissive, the final settlement might not be fair.
  • Fuel feelings. Mediation might increase unfavorable habits of a partner with a propensity for physical/mental or drugs/alcohol abuse.

Couples often hear about the marvels of mediation and how it is apparently a much better, less controversial, less expensive and more “dignified” way to get a divorce. My most significant problem with mediation is that the sole function and objective of the conciliator is to get the parties to come to a contract– any agreement! Unless both celebrations can be relatively affordable and amicable (and if they can be, why are they getting separated???), I think that mediation is usually not a feasible alternative for a lot of women.

Collaborative Divorce

Simply put, collaborative divorce occurs when a couple consents to work out a divorce settlement without going to court.

During a collective divorce both you and your other half will each hire an attorney who has been trained in the collective divorce process. The role of the lawyers in a collaborative divorce is rather different than in a standard divorce. Each lawyer recommends and helps their customer in working out a settlement arrangement. You will meet with your lawyer independently and you and your lawyer will also meet with your spouse and his lawyer. The collective process may also include other neutral experts such as a divorce financial planner who will assist both of you work through your monetary concerns and a coach or therapist who can assist guide both of you through child custody and other mentally charged problems.

In the collective process, you, your partner and your particular attorneys all should sign a contract that requires that both lawyers withdraw from the case if a settlement is not reached and/or if litigation is threatened. If this takes place, both you and your hubby need to begin all over once again and discover new lawyers. Neither party can utilize the same attorneys once again!

Even if the collective procedure is successful, you will typically have to appear in family court so a judge can sign the contract. The legal process can be much quicker and less pricey than standard litigation if the collaborative process works.

Sadly, though, I have actually found that the collective method typically doesn’t work well to settle divorces involving complicated monetary circumstances or when there are considerable properties. In collaborative divorce, just as in mediation, all financial info (income, properties and liabilities) is revealed voluntarily. Typically the partner manages the “bag strings,” and the partner is typically uninformed of the details of their monetary scenario. When this sort of inequality exists, the door is typically wide open for the husband to conceal possessions. What’s more, lots of high net worth divorces involve services and expert practices where it is fairly easy to hide properties and earnings. In addition, the issue of appraisal can be rather controversial.

… as a general rule, my recommendation is this:

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

  • You think your husband is concealing assets/income.
  • Your hubby is aggressive, and you have difficulty speaking out or you’re afraid to voice your opinions.
  • There is a history or hazard of domestic violence (physical and/or mental) towards you and/or your kids.
  • You or your spouse has a drug/alcohol addiction.

Litigated Divorce

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

Keep in mind, however, “litigated” does not mean the divorce ends up in court. The vast majority of all divorce cases (more than 95 percent) reach an out-of-court settlement agreement. “Lawsuits” is a legal term meaning ‘carrying out a claim.’

Why are suits a part of divorce? Since contrary to popular belief, divorce typically does not include two individuals equally 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, develops an adversarial scenario right from the start and typically disqualifies mediation and collective divorce, considering that both methods depend on the complete cooperation of both celebrations and the voluntary disclosure of all financial details.

Plainly, if you are starting with an adversarial and highly emotionally charged situation, the chances are really high that cooperation or mediation might stop working. Why take the risk of going those routes when odds are they might fail, losing your money and time?

The most crucial and most difficult parts of any divorce are concerning an arrangement on kid custody, department of assets and liabilities and alimony payments (just how much and for how long). You desire your attorney to be an extremely competent negotiator, you do not desire somebody who is extremely combative, ready to battle over anything and everything. An extremely controversial approach will not only extend the discomfort and significantly increase your legal costs, it will also be emotionally damaging to everybody involved, especially the kids.

Remember: Many divorce lawyers (or a minimum of the ones I would recommend) will constantly strive to come to a sensible settlement with the other celebration. But if they can’t pertain to a sensible settlement or if the other party is completely unreasonable then, unfortunately, litigating, or threatening to do so, might be the only way to solve these problems.

Up up until that point both attorneys were “arbitrators,” attempting to get the parties to compromise and come to some sensible resolution. Once in court, the function of each lawyer changes.

And do not 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 final decisions about your kids, your residential or commercial property, your cash and how you live your life. That’s a very big risk for both celebrations to take– which’s also why the hazard of going to court is generally such a great deterrent.

Here’s my last word of guidance about divorce alternatives: Weigh divorce options thoroughly. The bottom line is that every family, and every divorce, is various. Clearly, if you are able to deal with your husband to make decisions and both of you are truthful and sensible, then mediation or the collective technique might be best. However, if you have doubts, it is great to be all set with “Fallback” which would be the prosecuted divorce.

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