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The Four Divorce Alternatives

Divorce mediation

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

If you’re a woman who’s pondering divorce, you have numerous options about how to proceed. In general terms, you need to think about four broad classifications of divorce options: Do-It-Yourself (Do It Yourself), Mediation, Collaborative and Lawsuits. Let’s have a look at the advantages and disadvantages 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 situation I can imagine when a Do-It-Yourself divorce may make any possible sense, might be in a case where the marriage lasted just 2 or three years and there are no kids, little or no assets/debts to be divided, comparable incomes and no alimony. In a case like that, a Do-It-Yourself divorce might be accomplished quite rapidly and cheaply.


In divorce mediation, a divorcing couple works with a neutral arbitrator who assists both parties come to an agreement on all elements of their divorce. Both celebrations still require to consult with their own, individual lawyers during the mediation and prior to signing the last divorce settlement arrangement.

Here are a few pros and cons to think about prior to choosing if mediation will work for you.

On the “pro” side, divorce mediation may:

  • Result in a better long-lasting relationship with your ex-husband since you will not “combat” in court.
  • Be much easier on children considering that the divorce procedures might be more tranquil.
  • Speed up an agreement.
  • Reduce expenditures.
  • Help you remain in control of your divorce due to the fact that you are deciding (and the court isn’t).
  • Enable more discretion. Mediation is personal; litigated divorce is public.

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

  • Waste time and cash. If negotiations stop working, you’ll require to start all over.
  • Be incomplete or unduly beneficial to one spouse. If the arbitrator is unskilled or prejudiced towards your partner, the outcome could be unfavorable for you.
  • Lead to an unenforceable agreement. A mediation agreement that’s lopsided or badly prepared can be challenged.
  • Cause legal issues. Any concern of law will still require to be ruled upon by the court.
  • Fail to discover particular assets. Given that all financial info is voluntarily disclosed and there is no subpoena of records, your hubby could potentially hide assets/income.
  • Reinforce unhealthy behavior patterns. If one partner is dominating and the other is submissive, the final settlement might not be fair.
  • Fuel emotions. Mediation could increase negative behavior of a spouse with a propensity for physical/mental or drugs/alcohol abuse.

Couples often hear about the marvels of mediation and how it is apparently a better, less controversial, less pricey and more “dignified” way to get a divorce. My greatest problem with mediation is that the sole function and objective of the mediator is to get the celebrations to come to an agreement– any arrangement! Unless both parties can be relatively affordable and friendly (and if they can be, why are they getting separated???), I think that mediation is normally not a practical option for many women.

Collective Divorce

Put simply, collaborative divorce happens when a couple agrees to exercise a divorce settlement without litigating.

Throughout a collective divorce both you and your hubby will each work with an attorney who has actually been trained in the collective divorce procedure. The function of the attorneys in a collective divorce is rather various than in a traditional divorce. Each attorney encourages and assists their customer in negotiating a settlement contract. You will meet your lawyer independently and you and your lawyer will likewise meet your partner and his attorney. The collaborative process may likewise include other neutral specialists such as a divorce monetary coordinator who will assist both of you overcome your monetary problems and a coach or therapist who can assist guide both of you through kid custody and other mentally charged issues.

In the collaborative procedure, you, your husband and your respective attorneys all should sign a contract that requires that both attorneys withdraw from the case if a settlement is not reached and/or if litigation is threatened. If this takes place, both you and your other half need to begin all over again and find new lawyers. Neither celebration can use the very same attorneys again!

Even if the collaborative procedure achieves success, you will typically have 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.

However, I have discovered that the collective method often doesn’t work well to settle divorces including complex monetary situations or when there are significant assets. In collective divorce, just as in mediation, all financial info (income, assets and liabilities) is revealed willingly. Frequently the spouse manages the “purse strings,” and the spouse is generally uninformed of the details of their financial circumstance. When this kind of inequality exists, the door is frequently wide open for the hubby to hide assets. What’s more, many high net worth divorces include services and expert practices where it is reasonably easy to hide possessions and earnings. In addition, the issue of evaluation can be quite contentious.

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

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

  • You presume your other half is hiding assets/income.
  • Your spouse is prideful, and you have difficulty speaking out 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 kids.
  • You or your hubby has a drug/alcohol addiction.

Litigated Divorce

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

Bear in mind, however, “prosecuted” does not mean the divorce winds up in court. The large majority of all divorce cases (more than 95 percent) reach an out-of-court settlement contract. “Lawsuits” is a legal term significance ‘carrying out a claim.’

Why are claims a part of divorce? Since contrary to popular belief, divorce typically does not include 2 people mutually agreeing to end their marital relationship. In 80 percent of cases, the choice to divorce is unilateral– one party wants the divorce and the other does not. That, by its very nature, creates an adversarial situation right from the start and frequently disqualifies mediation and collective divorce, since both approaches depend on the complete cooperation of both celebrations and the voluntary disclosure of all monetary details.

Plainly, if you are starting out with an adversarial and highly emotionally charged situation, the possibilities are really high that cooperation or mediation may stop working. Why take the threat of going those paths when odds are they might fail, losing your money and time?

The most important and most challenging parts of any divorce are coming to a contract on kid custody, department of assets and liabilities and alimony payments (how much and for for how long). You desire your attorney to be a highly experienced mediator, you don’t desire someone who is excessively combative, ready to fight over anything and whatever. An extremely controversial method will not just lengthen the discomfort and significantly increase your legal charges, it will also be emotionally harmful to everyone included, specifically the kids.

Remember: A lot of divorce lawyers (or a minimum of the ones I would recommend) will constantly aim to come to a sensible settlement with the other party. If they can’t come to a sensible 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 issues.

If you have tried everything else, and you do wind up in court, things can get really nasty and hostile. Up until that point both attorneys were “arbitrators,” attempting to get the celebrations to jeopardize and concern some sensible resolution. Once in court, the role of each lawyer modifications. Settlements and compromise relocate to the back burner. Their new task is to “win” and get the very best possible result for their client.

And do not forget, once you remain in court, it’s a judge who understands extremely little about you and your family that will make the decisions about your children, your property, your money and how you live your life. That’s a huge danger for both parties to take– and that’s also why the danger of litigating is normally such an excellent deterrent.

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

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