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The 4 Divorce Alternatives

Divorce mediation

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

In fact, if you’re a woman who’s contemplating divorce, you have a number of options about how to proceed. In general terms, you require to think about 4 broad categories of divorce options: Do-It-Yourself (Do It Yourself), Mediation, Collaborative and Litigation. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of each one.

Do-It-Yourself Divorce

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

The only circumstance I can envision when a Do-It-Yourself divorce may make any possible sense, may be in a case where the marriage lasted just two or three years and there are no children, little or no assets/debts to be divided, similar earnings and no spousal support. In a case like that, a Do-It-Yourself divorce could be accomplished quite rapidly and inexpensively.


In divorce mediation, a separating couple works with a neutral mediator who helps both celebrations pertain to an arrangement on all aspects of their divorce. The conciliator may or may not be an attorney, but he/she should be extremely fluent in divorce and family law. In addition, it is important for the mediator to be neutral and not advocate for either party. Both parties still require to speak with their own, private attorneys throughout the mediation and prior to signing the final divorce settlement agreement.

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

On the “professional” side, divorce mediation may:

  • Lead to a much better long-lasting relationship with your ex-husband because you will not “combat” in court.
  • Be much easier on kids because the divorce procedures may be more tranquil.
  • Accelerate a contract.
  • Reduce expenses.
  • Help you remain in control of your divorce because you are deciding (and the court isn’t).
  • Permit more discretion. Mediation is private; litigated divorce is public.

On the “con” side, divorce mediation may:

  • Waste time and cash. If negotiations stop working, you’ll require to begin all over.
  • Be incomplete or unduly beneficial to one partner. If the mediator is inexperienced or biased towards your husband, the result could be undesirable for you.
  • Lead to an unenforceable agreement. A mediation arrangement that’s uneven or badly prepared can be challenged.
  • Lead to legal complications. Any issue of law will still require to be ruled upon by the court.
  • Fail to discover specific possessions. Since all monetary information is voluntarily disclosed and there is no subpoena of records, your other half might potentially hide assets/income.
  • Strengthen unhealthy habits patterns. If one spouse is dominating and the other is submissive, the last settlement may not be reasonable.
  • Fuel feelings. Mediation might increase unfavorable behavior of a partner with a tendency for physical/mental or drugs/alcohol abuse.

Couples frequently hear about the marvels of mediation and how it is supposedly a much better, less contentious, less expensive and more “dignified” way to get a divorce. My most significant problem with mediation is that the sole function and goal of the conciliator is to get the celebrations to come to an arrangement– any agreement! Unless both parties can be fairly sensible and friendly (and if they can be, why are they getting separated???), I believe that mediation is usually not a practical alternative for many women.

Collaborative Divorce

Put simply, collective divorce happens when a couple accepts exercise a divorce settlement without litigating.

During a collaborative divorce both you and your husband will each employ a lawyer who has been trained in the collaborative divorce procedure. The function of the attorneys in a collective divorce is rather different than in a conventional divorce.

In the collective process, you, your spouse and your particular attorneys 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 happens, both you and your spouse need to begin all over again and find new lawyers. Neither celebration can utilize the same attorneys once again!

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

However, I have actually found that the collaborative method frequently does not work well to settle divorces including complex monetary circumstances or when there are significant assets. In collaborative divorce, simply as in mediation, all financial info (earnings, assets and liabilities) is disclosed willingly. What’s more, numerous high net worth divorces include services and expert practices where it is reasonably simple to conceal properties and income.

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

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

  • You presume your other half is hiding assets/income.
  • Your husband is imperious, and you have difficulty speaking up or you hesitate to voice your opinions.
  • There is a history or threat of domestic violence (physical and/or psychological) towards you and/or your children.
  • You or your spouse has a drug/alcohol addiction.

Litigated Divorce

The fourth divorce alternative is the most typical. Nowadays, the majority of separating couples choose the “standard” design of prosecuted divorce.

Bear in mind, though, “prosecuted” does not mean the divorce ends up in court. In fact, the huge bulk of all divorce cases (more than 95 percent) reach an out-of-court settlement arrangement. “Litigation” is a legal term meaning ‘performing a claim.’

Why are claims a part of divorce? Because contrary to common belief, divorce usually does not involve 2 people mutually accepting end their marital relationship. In 80 percent of cases, the choice to divorce is unilateral– one celebration wants the divorce and the other does not. That, by its very nature, produces an adversarial circumstance right from the start and often disqualifies mediation and collective divorce, considering that both techniques count on the complete cooperation of both parties and the voluntary disclosure of all financial details.

Plainly, if you are beginning with an adversarial and highly emotionally charged situation, 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, squandering your time and money?

The most important and most hard parts of any divorce are pertaining to an arrangement on kid custody, department of possessions and liabilities and spousal support payments (how much and for the length of time). You want your attorney to be a highly skilled mediator, you do not desire somebody who is overly combative, all set to battle over anything and everything. An excessively contentious method will not just prolong the pain and significantly increase your legal fees, it will also be mentally damaging to everyone included, especially the children.

Keep in mind: A lot of divorce attorneys (or at least the ones I would recommend) will always aim to come to a reasonable settlement with the other celebration. If they can’t come to a reasonable settlement or if the other party is completely unreasonable then, unfortunately, going to court, or threatening to do so, may be the only way to solve these issues.

If you have attempted whatever else, and you do end up in court, things can get actually nasty and hostile. Up up until that point both attorneys were “arbitrators,” trying to get the parties to compromise and come to some affordable resolution. But once in court, the function of each lawyer changes. Negotiations and compromise move to the back burner. Their brand-new task is to “win” and get the best possible outcome for their customer.

And don’t forget, when you’re in court, it’s a judge who understands really little about you and your family that will make the decisions about your children, your residential or commercial property, your cash and how you live your life. That’s a huge threat for both celebrations to take– which’s likewise why the danger of litigating is normally such an excellent deterrent.

Here’s my last word of guidance about divorce alternatives: Weigh divorce alternatives carefully. The bottom line is that every family, and every divorce, is various. Undoubtedly, if you have the ability to work with your other half to make decisions and both of you are honest and affordable, then mediation or the collaborative technique may be best. If you have doubts, it is good to be prepared with “Strategy B” which would be the litigated divorce.

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