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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.

If you’re a woman who’s considering divorce, you have a number of alternatives about how to continue. In general terms, you need to consider 4 broad classifications of divorce alternatives: Do-It-Yourself (DIY), Mediation, Collaborative and Litigation. Let’s take a look at the benefits and drawbacks of every one.

Do-It-Yourself Divorce

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

Divorce is extremely complicated, both lawfully and economically. You can easily make mistakes, and frequently those errors are irreparable. The only circumstance I can imagine when a Diy divorce might make any possible sense, might be in a case where the marital relationship lasted just 2 or three years and there are no children, little or no assets/debts to be divided, similar incomes and no alimony. In a case like that, a Diy divorce could be achieved quite rapidly and inexpensively. I would still highly advise that each celebration have their own separate lawyer review the last documents.


In divorce mediation, a divorcing couple works with a neutral mediator who helps both parties come to an arrangement 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 last divorce settlement agreement.

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

On the “pro” side, divorce mediation may:

  • Lead to a better long-term relationship with your ex-husband since you will not “combat” in court.
  • Be much easier on children given that the divorce procedures may be more tranquil.
  • Expedite a contract.
  • Reduce expenses.
  • Assist you stay in control of your divorce since you are deciding (and the court isn’t).
  • Allow for more discretion. Mediation is personal; litigated divorce is public.

On the “con” side, divorce mediation might:

  • Lose time and money. If negotiations stop working, you’ll need to begin all over.
  • Be incomplete or unduly favorable to one spouse. If the mediator is inexperienced or prejudiced towards your partner, the outcome could be undesirable for you.
  • Lead to an unenforceable agreement. A mediation contract that’s uneven or inadequately prepared can be challenged.
  • Result in legal problems. Any concern of law will still need to be ruled upon by the court.
  • Fail to discover certain possessions. Given that all financial info is voluntarily revealed and there is no subpoena of records, your hubby might potentially conceal assets/income.
  • Reinforce unhealthy behavior patterns. If one partner is dominating and the other is submissive, the final settlement may not be reasonable.
  • Fuel emotions. Mediation could increase unfavorable habits of a spouse 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 controversial, less costly and more “dignified” method to get a divorce. My most significant issue with mediation is that the sole function and objective of the conciliator is to get the parties to come to a contract– any arrangement! Unless both parties can be fairly reasonable and amicable (and if they can be, why are they getting separated???), I believe that mediation is generally not a practical option for most females.

Collaborative Divorce

Simply put, collective divorce occurs when a couple accepts work out a divorce settlement without going to court.

During a collective divorce both you and your other half will each hire an attorney who has been trained in the collective divorce process. The role of the attorneys in a collective divorce is rather different than in a standard divorce.

In the collective procedure, you, your spouse and your respective lawyers all must sign an arrangement that needs that both lawyers withdraw from the case if a settlement is not reached and/or if lawsuits is threatened. If this happens, both you and your hubby need to begin all over once again and discover brand-new attorneys. Neither celebration can use the same attorneys once again!

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

However, I have actually found that the collective method frequently doesn’t work well to settle divorces including complex financial circumstances or when there are considerable possessions. In collaborative divorce, just as in mediation, all financial information (earnings, possessions and liabilities) is disclosed willingly. Frequently the husband controls the “handbag strings,” and the partner is generally unaware of the information of their monetary situation. When this sort of inequality exists, the door is frequently wide open for the partner to hide assets. What’s more, lots of high net worth divorces involve companies and expert practices where it is reasonably simple to conceal properties and earnings. Furthermore, the concern of assessment can be quite controversial.

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

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

  • You suspect your hubby is hiding assets/income.
  • Your hubby is aggressive, and you have trouble speaking up or you hesitate to voice your opinions.
  • There is a history or hazard 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 fourth divorce option is the most common. These days, most of separating couples select the “standard” model of prosecuted divorce.

Remember, however, “prosecuted” does not imply the divorce ends up in court. In fact, the large bulk of all divorce cases (more than 95 percent) reach an out-of-court settlement arrangement. “Litigation” is a legal term meaning ‘carrying out a lawsuit.’

Why are claims a part of divorce? Since contrary to common belief, divorce typically does not involve 2 individuals equally agreeing 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, produces an adversarial scenario right from the start and frequently disqualifies mediation and collective divorce, given that both methods count on the full cooperation of both parties and the voluntary disclosure of all monetary details.

Plainly, if you are starting with an adversarial and extremely emotionally charged circumstance, the opportunities are very high that partnership or mediation might stop working. Why take the danger of going those routes when chances are they might stop working, losing your money and time?

The most important and most challenging parts of any divorce are concerning an agreement on kid custody, division of possessions and liabilities and spousal support payments (just how much and for for how long). You desire your attorney to be a highly experienced mediator, you don’t want someone who is extremely combative, prepared to combat over anything and whatever. An excessively contentious approach will not only extend the pain and significantly increase your legal charges, it will also be mentally destructive to everybody included, particularly the kids.

Remember: Most divorce lawyers (or a minimum of the ones I would recommend) will constantly make every effort to come to a reasonable settlement with the other celebration. If they can’t come to an affordable settlement or if the other party is completely unreasonable then, regrettably, going to court, or threatening to do so, might be the only way to fix these issues.

Up up until that point both attorneys were “negotiators,” trying to get the celebrations to jeopardize and come to some sensible resolution. Once in court, the function of each lawyer modifications.

And don’t forget, as soon as you remain in court, it’s a judge who knows very little about you and your family that will make the final decisions about your kids, your home, your cash and how you live your life. That’s a very big risk for both celebrations to take– and that’s likewise why the danger of going to court is usually such a good deterrent.

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

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