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The Four Divorce Alternatives

Divorce mediation

No two marriages are the same, and so it just follows that no two divorces will be the same, either.

In fact, if you’re a female who’s contemplating divorce, you have a number of options about how to proceed. In general terms, you need to consider four broad classifications of divorce alternatives: Do-It-Yourself (DIY), Mediation, Collaborative and Lawsuits. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of every one.

Do-It-Yourself Divorce

The best suggestions I can give 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 marital relationship lasted only 2 or three years and there are no children, little or no assets/debts to be divided, comparable earnings and no spousal support. In a case like that, a Do-It-Yourself divorce might be achieved rather quickly and inexpensively.


In divorce mediation, a divorcing couple deals with a neutral arbitrator who helps both celebrations pertain to an arrangement on all elements of their divorce. The mediator might or might not be a legal representative, however he/she needs to be extremely fluent in divorce and family law. In addition, it is crucial for the arbitrator to be neutral and not advocate for either party. Both parties still require to consult with their own, individual attorneys throughout the mediation and prior to signing the final divorce settlement contract.

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

On the “pro” side, divorce mediation may:

  • Lead to a much better long-term relationship with your ex-husband given that you will not “combat” in court.
  • Be simpler on kids considering that the divorce proceedings might be more peaceful.
  • Expedite an agreement.
  • Reduce costs.
  • Help you stay in control of your divorce because you are deciding (and the court isn’t).
  • Enable more discretion. Mediation is personal; prosecuted divorce is public.

On the “con” side, divorce mediation may:

  • Waste time and money. If settlements fail, you’ll require to start all over.
  • Be incomplete or unduly favorable to one spouse. If the mediator is unskilled or prejudiced towards your husband, the outcome could be undesirable for you.
  • Result in an unenforceable arrangement. A mediation contract that’s lopsided or inadequately drafted can be challenged.
  • Result in legal complications. Any problem of law will still require to be ruled upon by the court.
  • Fail to uncover particular assets. Since all financial information is willingly revealed and there is no subpoena of records, your partner could potentially conceal assets/income.
  • Strengthen unhealthy habits patterns. If one spouse is controling and the other is submissive, the final settlement may not be fair.
  • Fuel feelings. Mediation could increase unfavorable habits of a partner with a propensity for physical/mental or drugs/alcohol abuse.

Couples frequently hear about the wonders of mediation and how it is supposedly a better, less controversial, less expensive and more “dignified” method to get a divorce. My greatest problem with mediation is that the sole function and goal of the mediator is to get the celebrations to come to an arrangement– any agreement! Unless both parties can be relatively affordable and friendly (and if they can be, why are they getting divorced???), I believe that mediation is generally not a practical choice for a lot of ladies.

Collective Divorce

Basically, collaborative divorce happens when a couple agrees to work out a divorce settlement without litigating.

During a collective divorce both you and your partner will each work with an attorney who has been trained in the collective divorce procedure. The role of the lawyers in a collective divorce is rather various than in a traditional divorce. Each attorney advises and assists their customer in working out a settlement arrangement. You will meet with your lawyer separately and you and your lawyer will also consult with your partner and his lawyer. The collaborative process may likewise involve other neutral specialists such as a divorce monetary coordinator who will assist both of you resolve your financial issues and a coach or therapist who can help guide both of you through child custody and other mentally charged concerns.

In the collective process, you, your partner and your particular attorneys all should 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 need to begin all over again and find brand-new attorneys. Neither party can utilize the exact same attorneys again!

Even if the collaborative procedure succeeds, you will normally have to appear in family court so a judge can sign the arrangement. However the legal process can be much quicker and more economical than standard litigation if the collective process works.

Though, I have actually found that the collective technique typically does not work well to settle divorces including complex monetary scenarios or when there are substantial possessions. In collaborative divorce, just as in mediation, all monetary info (earnings, possessions and liabilities) is revealed willingly. Frequently the other half controls the “bag strings,” and the wife is normally uninformed of the details of their monetary situation. When this kind of inequality exists, the door is often wide open for the husband to conceal possessions. What’s more, lots of high net worth divorces include organizations and professional practices where it is fairly simple to conceal assets and earnings. Additionally, the issue of evaluation can be quite contentious.

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

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

  • You presume your hubby is hiding assets/income.
  • Your husband is domineering, and you have trouble speaking up or you hesitate to voice your viewpoints.
  • There is a history or threat of domestic violence (physical and/or mental) towards you and/or your kids.
  • You or your husband has a drug/alcohol dependency.

Litigated Divorce

The fourth divorce alternative is the most common. Nowadays, most of divorcing couples pick the “standard” design of prosecuted divorce.

Keep in mind, however, “prosecuted” does not suggest the divorce ends up in court. The large majority of all divorce cases (more than 95 percent) reach an out-of-court settlement arrangement. “Lawsuits” is a legal term significance ‘performing a lawsuit.’

In 80 percent of cases, the choice to divorce is unilateral– one party desires the divorce and the other does not. That, by its very nature, develops an adversarial situation right from the start and typically disqualifies mediation and collective divorce, since both methods rely on the full cooperation of both celebrations and the voluntary disclosure of all financial information.

Plainly, if you are beginning with an adversarial and extremely emotionally charged situation, the possibilities are very high that collaboration or mediation might stop working. Why take the risk of going those paths when odds are they might fail, squandering your money and time?

The most essential and most difficult parts of any divorce are coming to an arrangement on child custody, department of possessions and liabilities and alimony payments (how much and for how long). You want your lawyer to be a highly experienced arbitrator, you don’t want somebody who is extremely combative, all set to fight over anything and whatever. An extremely contentious approach will not only lengthen the discomfort and significantly increase your legal costs, it will also be emotionally detrimental to everybody involved, particularly the kids.

Remember: A lot of divorce attorneys (or a minimum of the ones I would recommend) will always strive to come to a sensible settlement with the other party. 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, may be the only method to resolve these issues.

Up until that point both attorneys were “arbitrators,” attempting to get the celebrations to compromise and come to some reasonable resolution. As soon as in court, the role of each attorney modifications.

And do not forget, when you remain in court, it’s a judge who knows 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 threat for both parties to take– and that’s likewise why the threat of going to court is typically such an excellent deterrent.

Here’s my last word of guidance about divorce alternatives: Weigh divorce options thoroughly. The bottom line is that every family, and every divorce, is various. Certainly, if you are able to work with your partner to make decisions and both of you are sincere and sensible, then mediation or the collaborative technique may be best. If you have doubts, it is excellent to be ready with “Strategy B” which would be the prosecuted divorce.

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