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The Four Divorce Alternatives

Divorce mediation

No 2 marriages 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 choices about how to proceed. In general terms, you need to think about four broad categories of divorce options: Do-It-Yourself (DIY), Mediation, Collaborative and Litigation. Let’s take a look at the benefits and drawbacks of each one.

Do-It-Yourself Divorce

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

The only circumstance I can envision when a Diy divorce may make any possible sense, may be in a case where the marital relationship lasted just two or 3 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 might be achieved quite rapidly and cheaply.


In divorce mediation, a divorcing couple deals with a neutral mediator who assists both celebrations pertain to an agreement on all elements of their divorce. The mediator might or may not be an attorney, however he/she must be extremely fluent in divorce and family law. In addition, it is crucial for the arbitrator to be neutral and not advocate for either celebration. Both parties still require to seek advice from their own, individual attorneys throughout the mediation and prior to signing the last divorce settlement contract.

Here are a few pros and cons to consider prior to deciding 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 “fight” in court.
  • Be much easier on kids since the divorce procedures may be more tranquil.
  • Expedite a contract.
  • Reduce expenses.
  • Assist you stay in control of your divorce since you are making the decisions (and the court isn’t).
  • Permit more discretion. Mediation is personal; litigated divorce is public.

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

  • Lose time and cash. If negotiations fail, you’ll require to start all over.
  • Be incomplete or unduly favorable to one partner. If the mediator is inexperienced or prejudiced towards your husband, the result could be undesirable for you.
  • Result in an unenforceable agreement. A mediation contract that’s uneven or inadequately drafted can be challenged.
  • Lead to legal problems. Any problem of law will still require to be ruled upon by the court.
  • Fail to reveal particular properties. Because all financial information is willingly revealed and there is no subpoena of records, your spouse might potentially hide assets/income.
  • Enhance unhealthy behavior patterns. If one partner is dominating and the other is submissive, the final settlement may not be reasonable.
  • Fuel emotions. Mediation could increase negative behavior of a partner with a propensity for physical/mental or drugs/alcohol abuse.

Couples typically hear about the wonders of mediation and how it is apparently a much better, less contentious, less pricey and more “dignified” way to get a divorce. My greatest problem with mediation is that the sole function and goal of the mediator is to get the celebrations to come to a contract– any agreement! Unless both celebrations can be fairly sensible and friendly (and if they can be, why are they getting separated???), I think that mediation is generally not a practical choice for many ladies.

Collaborative Divorce

Simply put, collaborative divorce takes place when a couple agrees to work out a divorce settlement without litigating.

Throughout a collaborative divorce both you and your hubby will each employ an attorney who has been trained in the collaborative divorce process. The role of the attorneys in a collaborative divorce is quite various than in a standard divorce.

In the collaborative process, you, your spouse and your respective 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 other half must start all over again and find brand-new attorneys. Neither party can utilize the exact same lawyers once again!

Even if the collaborative process achieves success, you will normally need to appear in family court so a judge can sign the arrangement. The legal procedure can be much quicker and less pricey than conventional lawsuits if the collaborative process works.

Though, I have discovered that the collaborative approach often doesn’t work well to settle divorces involving complex monetary situations or when there are significant possessions. In collaborative divorce, simply as in mediation, all financial details (income, possessions and liabilities) is disclosed willingly. What’s more, numerous high net worth divorces involve organizations and expert practices where it is fairly easy to conceal possessions and earnings.

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

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

  • You think 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 children.
  • You or your hubby has a drug/alcohol dependency.

Litigated Divorce

The 4th divorce choice is the most common. Nowadays, the majority of separating couples select the “traditional” model of litigated divorce.

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

In 80 percent of cases, the choice to divorce is unilateral– one celebration desires the divorce and the other does not. That, by its very nature, develops an adversarial circumstance right from the start and frequently disqualifies mediation and collaborative divorce, considering that both methods rely on the full cooperation of both parties and the voluntary disclosure of all financial info.

Plainly, if you are starting with an adversarial and highly mentally charged circumstance, the opportunities are extremely high that cooperation or mediation may fail. Why take the danger of going those paths when odds are they might fail, losing your time and money?

The most crucial and most tough parts of any divorce are concerning a contract on kid custody, department of properties and liabilities and alimony payments (how much and for how long). You want your lawyer to be a highly experienced arbitrator, you do not desire somebody who is excessively combative, prepared to battle over anything and whatever. An extremely contentious technique will not just extend the discomfort and significantly increase your legal fees, it will also be emotionally destructive to everyone included, especially the kids.

Remember: Most divorce lawyers (or a minimum of the ones I would advise) will constantly make every effort to come to a reasonable settlement with the other celebration. But if they can’t concern a sensible settlement or if the other celebration is totally unreasonable then, sadly, litigating, or threatening to do so, might be the only way to resolve these concerns.

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

And do not forget, when you remain in court, it’s a judge who knows really little about you and your family that will make the final decisions about your children, your property, your cash and how you live your life. That’s a very big danger for both parties to take– which’s also why the danger of going to court is typically such a great deterrent.

Here’s my last word of guidance about divorce options: Weigh divorce options carefully. The bottom line is that every family, and every divorce, is different. Certainly, if you are able to work with your hubby to make decisions and both of you are sincere and sensible, then mediation or the collective method might be best. But, if you have doubts, it is great to be all set with “Plan B” which would be the prosecuted divorce.

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