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If you are at the point of separation, or you are currently separated or divorced, mediation might help you focus on the future.

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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.

If you’re a lady who’s contemplating divorce, you have several choices about how to continue. In general terms, you need to think about 4 broad categories of divorce options: Do-It-Yourself (DIY), Mediation, Collaborative and Lawsuits. Let’s have a look at the benefits and drawbacks of every one.

Do-It-Yourself Divorce

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

Divorce is very complicated, both lawfully and financially. You can quickly make errors, and typically those mistakes are irreparable. The only circumstance I can envision when a Diy divorce might 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, similar earnings and no alimony. In a case like that, a Diy divorce could be achieved rather quickly and inexpensively. Nevertheless, I would still extremely recommend that each party have their own separate lawyer review the last documents.


In divorce mediation, a divorcing couple works with a neutral conciliator who helps both parties come to a contract on all elements of their divorce. Both celebrations still need to consult with their own, specific attorneys during the mediation and prior to signing the final divorce settlement agreement.

Here are a few advantages and disadvantages to think about prior to 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 given that you will not “battle” in court.
  • Be easier on children considering that the divorce procedures may be more serene.
  • Speed up an agreement.
  • Reduce expenses.
  • Help you stay in control of your divorce because you are deciding (and the court isn’t).
  • Enable more discretion. Mediation is personal; litigated divorce is public.

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

  • Lose time and money. If settlements fail, you’ll need to begin all over.
  • Be incomplete or unduly beneficial to one partner. If the conciliator is inexperienced or prejudiced towards your hubby, the outcome could be undesirable for you.
  • Result in an unenforceable agreement. A mediation agreement that’s uneven or inadequately prepared can be challenged.
  • Lead to legal issues. Any issue of law will still require to be ruled upon by the court.
  • Fail to discover particular assets. Since all financial information is willingly disclosed and there is no subpoena of records, your spouse might possibly conceal assets/income.
  • Reinforce unhealthy behavior patterns. If one spouse is controling and the other is submissive, the final settlement may not be fair.
  • Fuel feelings. Mediation could increase negative habits of a spouse 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 controversial, less costly and more “dignified” way to get a divorce. My most significant problem with mediation is that the sole role and goal of the mediator is to get the celebrations to come to an agreement– any agreement! Unless both parties can be relatively affordable and amicable (and if they can be, why are they getting divorced???), I believe that mediation is typically not a viable alternative for most women.

Collaborative Divorce

Put simply, collaborative divorce happens when a couple accepts work out a divorce settlement without litigating.

During a collective divorce both you and your hubby will each hire an attorney who has actually been trained in the collaborative divorce process. The role of the attorneys in a collective divorce is quite different than in a traditional divorce. Each attorney advises and assists their customer in working out a settlement contract. You will meet your lawyer independently and you and your attorney will likewise meet with your hubby and his lawyer. The collective procedure might likewise involve other neutral experts such as a divorce monetary organizer who will help both of you overcome your monetary concerns and a coach or therapist who can assist assist both of you through kid custody and other emotionally charged concerns.

In the collective process, you, your other half and your respective attorneys all need to sign an agreement that needs 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 spouse must begin all over once again and discover new attorneys. Neither party can use the same lawyers again!

Even if the collaborative procedure achieves success, you will generally need to appear in family court so a judge can sign the arrangement. The legal procedure can be much quicker and less costly than traditional litigation if the collective process works.

However, I have discovered that the collective method frequently doesn’t work well to settle divorces involving complex monetary scenarios or when there are substantial assets. In collective divorce, just as in mediation, all financial info (earnings, possessions and liabilities) is revealed willingly. What’s more, lots of high net worth divorces involve companies and expert practices where it is fairly easy to conceal possessions and income.

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

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

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

Litigated Divorce

The 4th divorce option is the most typical. These days, the majority of separating couples choose the “traditional” model of litigated divorce.

Keep in mind, however, “litigated” does not indicate the divorce winds up in court. In fact, the large majority of all divorce cases (more than 95 percent) reach an out-of-court settlement agreement. “Litigation” is a legal term significance ‘performing a lawsuit.’

Why are suits a part of divorce? Due to the fact that contrary to common belief, divorce normally does not include 2 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, produces an adversarial circumstance right from the start and frequently disqualifies mediation and collaborative divorce, given that both approaches depend on the full cooperation of both parties and the voluntary disclosure of all financial details.

Plainly, if you are starting with an adversarial and extremely mentally charged scenario, the chances are very high that collaboration or mediation may fail. Why take the risk of going those paths when chances are they might stop working, losing your money and time?

The most essential and most challenging parts of any divorce are coming to an agreement on child custody, department of properties and liabilities and spousal support payments (how much and for the length of time). You want your lawyer to be an extremely proficient mediator, you do not want someone who is overly combative, ready to battle over anything and whatever. An overly controversial approach will not just extend the pain and substantially increase your legal fees, it will also be emotionally detrimental to everyone involved, specifically the children.

Keep in mind: Many divorce attorneys (or a minimum of the ones I would advise) will always strive to come to an affordable settlement with the other party. If they can’t come to a sensible settlement or if the other party is entirely unreasonable then, unfortunately, going to court, or threatening to do so, may be the only way to deal with these issues.

Up up until that point both lawyers were “mediators,” trying to get the parties to jeopardize and come to some sensible resolution. As soon as in court, the function of each attorney changes.

And don’t 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 children, your home, your money and how you live your life. That’s a very big threat for both celebrations to take– which’s likewise why the risk of going to court is normally such a good deterrent.

Here’s my last word of suggestions about divorce alternatives: Weigh divorce options carefully. The bottom line is that every family, and every divorce, is different. Clearly, if you have the ability to work with your husband to make decisions and both of you are sincere and affordable, then mediation or the collaborative approach may be best. However, if you have doubts, it is excellent to be all set with “Fallback” which would be the prosecuted divorce.

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