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The Four Divorce Alternatives

Divorce mediation

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

In fact, if you’re a female who’s considering divorce, you have several choices about how to proceed. In general terms, you need to consider 4 broad categories of divorce alternatives: Do-It-Yourself (Do It Yourself), Mediation, Collaborative and Litigation. Let’s have a look at the benefits and drawbacks of every one.

Do-It-Yourself Divorce

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

The only circumstance I can picture when a Do-It-Yourself divorce might make any possible sense, may be in a case where the marriage lasted just 2 or 3 years and there are no children, little or no assets/debts to be divided, comparable earnings and no alimony. In a case like that, a Do-It-Yourself divorce might be accomplished quite quickly and inexpensively.


In divorce mediation, a separating couple works with a neutral arbitrator who assists both parties come to an agreement on all aspects of their divorce. Both celebrations still require to consult with their own, specific attorneys throughout the mediation and prior to signing the final divorce settlement agreement.

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

On the “professional” side, divorce mediation may:

  • Lead to a much better long-term relationship with your ex-husband since you will not “combat” in court.
  • Be easier on kids since the divorce proceedings might be more peaceful.
  • Expedite an arrangement.
  • Reduce costs.
  • Assist you stay in control of your divorce due to the fact that you are deciding (and the court isn’t).
  • Permit more discretion. Mediation is private; prosecuted divorce is public.

On the “con” side, divorce mediation might:

  • Lose time and money. If settlements fail, you’ll need to begin all over.
  • Be insufficient or unduly beneficial to one spouse. If the arbitrator is inexperienced or prejudiced towards your hubby, the result could be unfavorable for you.
  • Result in an unenforceable agreement. A mediation agreement that’s uneven or poorly drafted can be challenged.
  • Lead to legal issues. Any problem of law will still require to be ruled upon by the court.
  • Fail to discover certain assets. Because all monetary information is willingly revealed and there is no subpoena of records, your husband could potentially hide assets/income.
  • Reinforce unhealthy behavior patterns. If one spouse is dominating and the other is submissive, the last settlement might not be reasonable.
  • Fuel feelings. Mediation might increase unfavorable behavior of a spouse with a propensity for physical/mental or drugs/alcohol abuse.

Couples frequently become aware of the wonders of mediation and how it is reportedly a much better, less contentious, less costly and more “dignified” method to get a divorce. Nevertheless, my biggest problem with mediation is that the sole role and goal of the mediator is to get the celebrations to come to a contract– any arrangement! Keep in mind, the arbitrator can not provide any advice. All they can do is try to get you to concur. Not all agreements are good agreements, and in truth, in numerous cases, no contract is better than a bad contract. Unless both celebrations can be fairly sensible and friendly (and if they can be, why are they getting separated???), I think that mediation is normally not a viable choice for many ladies.

Collective Divorce

Simply put, collaborative divorce takes place when a couple accepts exercise a divorce settlement without going to court.

During a collaborative divorce both you and your hubby will each hire an attorney who has been trained in the collaborative divorce procedure. The function of the attorneys in a collaborative divorce is quite different than in a standard divorce.

In the collective procedure, you, your other half 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 partner should start all over once again and find new lawyers. Neither party can use the same lawyers once again!

Even if the collective process succeeds, you will typically have to appear in family court so a judge can sign the arrangement. But the legal process can be much quicker and less costly than traditional litigation if the collective process works.

Sadly, though, I have found that the collective approach often doesn’t work well to settle divorces involving complicated monetary scenarios or when there are significant assets. In collective divorce, just as in mediation, all financial information (earnings, properties and liabilities) is revealed willingly. Frequently the hubby controls the “bag strings,” and the partner is usually unaware of the details of their financial scenario. When this sort of inequality exists, the door is often wide open for the husband to conceal assets. What’s more, numerous high net worth divorces involve companies and expert practices where it is fairly easy to conceal possessions and earnings. In addition, the problem of assessment can be quite controversial.

… as a general guideline, my suggestion is this:

Do NOT utilize any of these very first 3 options– Do-It-Yourself Divorce, Mediation or Collaborative Divorce– if:

  • You think your hubby is hiding assets/income.
  • Your other half is prideful, and you have difficulty speaking out or you hesitate to voice your opinions.
  • There is a history or risk of domestic violence (physical and/or psychological) towards you and/or your kids.
  • You or your spouse has a drug/alcohol dependency.

Litigated Divorce

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

Keep in mind, however, “litigated” does not suggest the divorce winds up in court. In fact, the huge bulk of all divorce cases (more than 95 percent) reach an out-of-court settlement contract. “Litigation” 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 typically does not involve 2 individuals equally consenting to end their marital relationship. In 80 percent of cases, the decision to divorce is unilateral– one party desires the divorce and the other does not. That, by its very nature, develops an adversarial circumstance right from the start and typically disqualifies mediation and collective divorce, since both approaches depend on the complete cooperation of both parties and the voluntary disclosure of all financial info.

Clearly, if you are beginning with an adversarial and highly emotionally charged scenario, the chances are very high that cooperation or mediation may stop working. Why take the threat of going those routes when chances are they might stop working, losing your money and time?

The most essential and most challenging parts of any divorce are pertaining to a contract on child custody, department of assets and liabilities and alimony payments (just how much and for how long). You desire your lawyer to be an extremely competent negotiator, you do not desire someone who is excessively combative, ready to combat over anything and everything. An extremely contentious approach will not only lengthen the pain and significantly increase your legal fees, it will likewise be mentally harmful to everyone involved, specifically the kids.

Remember: Most divorce attorneys (or at least the ones I would advise) will always make every effort to come to an affordable settlement with the other celebration. If they can’t come to a reasonable settlement or if the other celebration is completely unreasonable then, regrettably, going to court, or threatening to do so, might be the only way to deal with these issues.

Up till that point both lawyers were “arbitrators,” attempting to get the celebrations to jeopardize and come to some affordable resolution. When in court, the role of each lawyer modifications.

And don’t forget, when you remain in court, it’s a judge who understands really 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 danger for both celebrations to take– which’s also why the threat of going to court is usually such a good deterrent.

Here’s my last word of guidance about divorce alternatives: Weigh divorce alternatives thoroughly. If you have doubts, it is great to be all set with “Strategy B” which would be the litigated divorce.

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