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The 4 Divorce Alternatives

Divorce mediation

No 2 marital relationships are the same, and so it just follows that no two divorces will be the same, either.

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

Do-It-Yourself Divorce

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

The only situation I can picture when a Do-It-Yourself divorce might make any possible sense, may be in a case where the marriage lasted only 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 Do-It-Yourself divorce might be accomplished rather rapidly and cheaply.


In divorce mediation, a separating couple works with a neutral conciliator who helps both celebrations come to a contract on all elements of their divorce. The conciliator might or may not be a lawyer, but he/she needs to be exceptionally well-versed in divorce and family law. In addition, it is crucial for the conciliator to be neutral and not advocate for either party. Both parties still need to talk to their own, individual lawyers throughout the mediation and prior to signing the final divorce settlement arrangement.

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

On the “pro” side, divorce mediation might:

  • 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 procedures might be more tranquil.
  • Accelerate a contract.
  • Reduce costs.
  • Help you stay in control of your divorce since you are making the decisions (and the court isn’t).
  • Enable more discretion. Mediation is personal; litigated divorce is public.

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

  • Waste time and cash. If negotiations fail, you’ll require to begin all over.
  • Be insufficient or unduly favorable to one spouse. If the conciliator is inexperienced or prejudiced towards your hubby, the result could be undesirable for you.
  • Result in an unenforceable contract. A mediation contract that’s uneven or badly prepared can be challenged.
  • Cause legal problems. Any problem of law will still need to be ruled upon by the court.
  • Fail to uncover specific possessions. Since all monetary information is voluntarily revealed and there is no subpoena of records, your spouse might potentially conceal assets/income.
  • Reinforce unhealthy behavior patterns. If one spouse is controling and the other is submissive, the last settlement might not be fair.
  • Fuel emotions. Mediation could increase negative behavior of a partner with a tendency for physical/mental or drugs/alcohol abuse.

Couples typically hear about the marvels of mediation and how it is supposedly a better, less controversial, more economical and more “dignified” way to get a divorce. My greatest issue with mediation is that the sole role and goal of the mediator is to get the parties to come to a contract– any agreement! Keep in mind, the arbitrator can not give any advice. All they can do is try to get you to concur. Not all contracts are great contracts, and in reality, in many cases, no arrangement is much better than a bad agreement. Unless both celebrations can be fairly reasonable and friendly (and if they can be, why are they getting divorced???), I think that mediation is usually not a practical alternative for most women.

Collaborative Divorce

Put simply, collaborative divorce takes place when a couple agrees to work out a divorce settlement without going to court.

Throughout a collective divorce both you and your spouse will each work with an attorney who has been trained in the collective divorce procedure. The role of the lawyers in a collaborative divorce is rather different than in a conventional divorce.

In the collective procedure, you, your spouse and your particular lawyers all must 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 occurs, both you and your spouse need to start all over again and discover brand-new attorneys. Neither party can use the same attorneys once again!

Even if the collaborative procedure achieves success, you will typically need to appear in family court so a judge can sign the agreement. But the legal process can be much quicker and less costly than standard lawsuits if the collaborative process works.

Unfortunately, though, I have actually found that the collective approach frequently doesn’t work well to settle divorces including complicated monetary circumstances or when there are considerable assets. In collective divorce, just as in mediation, all financial info (earnings, properties and liabilities) is revealed willingly. Frequently the partner manages the “purse strings,” and the spouse is generally uninformed of the information of their financial circumstance. When this type of inequality exists, the door is typically wide open for the spouse to hide possessions. What’s more, numerous high net worth divorces include organizations and professional practices where it is relatively easy to conceal assets and income. Furthermore, the concern of appraisal can be quite contentious.

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

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

  • You think your husband is hiding assets/income.
  • Your husband is aggressive, and you have problem speaking up or you hesitate to voice your viewpoints.
  • There is a history or risk of domestic violence (physical and/or mental) towards you and/or your children.
  • You or your other half has a drug/alcohol dependency.

Litigated Divorce

The fourth divorce alternative is the most typical. Nowadays, the majority of divorcing couples pick the “standard” design of litigated divorce.

Bear in mind, though, “litigated” does not suggest the divorce winds up in court. In fact, the vast bulk of all divorce cases (more than 95 percent) reach an out-of-court settlement agreement. “Litigation” is a legal term meaning ‘performing a lawsuit.’

Why are claims a part of divorce? Since contrary to popular belief, divorce usually does not involve 2 individuals mutually consenting to 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 frequently disqualifies mediation and collaborative divorce, considering that both approaches depend 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 situation, the possibilities are really high that partnership or mediation may stop working. Why take the threat of going those routes when odds are they might fail, squandering your time and money?

The most crucial and most challenging parts of any divorce are concerning an agreement on child custody, department of assets and liabilities and spousal support payments (just how much and for how long). You desire your lawyer to be a highly knowledgeable negotiator, you do not want somebody who is overly combative, all set to combat over anything and everything. An extremely controversial method will not just lengthen the pain and substantially increase your legal fees, it will also be mentally detrimental to everyone included, especially the children.

Keep in mind: Many divorce lawyers (or at least the ones I would suggest) will constantly make every effort to come to an affordable settlement with the other celebration. If they can’t come to an affordable settlement or if the other celebration is completely unreasonable then, sadly, going to court, or threatening to do so, might be the only method to deal with these problems.

If you have actually attempted whatever else, and you do end up in court, things can get truly nasty and hostile. Up until that point both lawyers were “arbitrators,” trying to get the parties to jeopardize and concern some affordable resolution. As soon as in court, the role of each lawyer changes. Negotiations and compromise relocate to the back burner. Their new job is to “win” and get the very best possible outcome for their client.

And do not forget, as soon as you remain in court, it’s a judge who understands very little about you and your family that will make the decisions about your kids, your home, your money and how you live your life. That’s a huge threat for both parties to take– which’s also why the risk of litigating is usually such a good deterrent.

Here’s my last word of guidance about divorce alternatives: Weigh divorce options carefully. The bottom line is that every family, and every divorce, is different. Undoubtedly, if you are able to work with your hubby to make decisions and both of you are truthful and reasonable, then mediation or the collaborative approach may be best. If you have doubts, it is great to be ready with “Strategy B” which would be the litigated divorce.

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