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The Four Divorce Alternatives

Divorce mediation

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

If you’re a lady who’s contemplating divorce, you have several choices about how to proceed. In general terms, you need to consider four broad categories of divorce options: Do-It-Yourself (DIY), Mediation, Collaborative and Litigation. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of each one.

Do-It-Yourself Divorce

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

The only circumstance I can envision when a Do-It-Yourself divorce might make any possible sense, might be in a case where the marriage lasted only 2 or three years and there are no children, little or no assets/debts to be divided, comparable incomes and no spousal support. In a case like that, a Diy divorce might be achieved quite quickly and inexpensively.

Mediation

In divorce mediation, a divorcing couple works with a neutral mediator who helps both celebrations concern a contract on all elements of their divorce. The mediator might or might not be a lawyer, however he/she needs to be extremely skilled in divorce and family law. In addition, it is important for the conciliator to be neutral and not promote for either celebration. Both parties still require to talk to their own, private lawyers throughout the mediation and prior to signing the last divorce settlement contract.

Here are a few benefits and drawbacks to consider before choosing if mediation will work for you.

On the “pro” side, divorce mediation might:

  • Lead to a better long-lasting relationship with your ex-husband since you will not “fight” in court.
  • Be much easier on children considering that the divorce procedures may be more serene.
  • Speed up a contract.
  • Reduce expenses.
  • Assist you stay in control of your divorce because you are making the decisions (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 stop working, you’ll require to start all over.
  • Be incomplete or unduly beneficial to one partner. If the mediator is inexperienced or biased towards your spouse, the outcome could be undesirable for you.
  • Result in an unenforceable agreement. A mediation contract that’s lopsided or poorly prepared can be challenged.
  • Cause legal problems. Any concern of law will still need to be ruled upon by the court.
  • Fail to uncover specific possessions. Considering that all financial details is voluntarily revealed and there is no subpoena of records, your husband might potentially hide assets/income.
  • Enhance unhealthy behavior patterns. If one spouse is controling and the other is submissive, the final settlement may not be reasonable.
  • Fuel feelings. Mediation might increase negative behavior of a spouse with a propensity for physical/mental or drugs/alcohol abuse.

Couples frequently hear about the wonders of mediation and how it is reportedly a much better, less controversial, cheaper and more “dignified” way to get a divorce. However, my most significant issue with mediation is that the sole role and objective of the mediator is to get the celebrations to come to a contract– any agreement! Remember, the arbitrator can not offer any recommendations. All they can do is try to get you to agree. Not all agreements are great contracts, and in reality, in lots of cases, no arrangement is better than a bad arrangement. So unless both celebrations can be relatively affordable and friendly (and if they can be, why are they getting divorced???), I believe that mediation is typically not a feasible option for the majority of females.

Collective Divorce

Put simply, collaborative divorce happens when a couple consents to work out a divorce settlement without litigating.

Throughout a collaborative divorce both you and your husband will each work with a lawyer who has been trained in the collective divorce process. The function of the attorneys in a collaborative divorce is quite various than in a standard divorce. Each attorney advises and assists their customer in negotiating a settlement contract. You will consult with your attorney independently and you and your attorney will likewise meet your other half and his attorney. The collective process may also involve other neutral experts such as a divorce monetary organizer who will assist both of you work through your monetary issues and a coach or therapist who can help assist both of you through kid custody and other emotionally charged problems.

In the collaborative process, you, your spouse and your particular attorneys all should sign an arrangement that requires that both lawyers withdraw from the case if a settlement is not reached and/or if litigation is threatened. If this happens, both you and your husband must begin all over once again and find brand-new lawyers. Neither party can utilize the exact same lawyers again!

Even if the collaborative procedure is successful, you will typically need to appear in family court so a judge can sign the contract. The legal procedure can be much quicker and less costly than conventional litigation if the collaborative procedure works.

Though, I have discovered that the collective approach often doesn’t work well to settle divorces involving complex monetary situations or when there are considerable properties. In collective divorce, just as in mediation, all monetary information (earnings, possessions and liabilities) is divulged willingly. What’s more, many high net worth divorces involve businesses and professional practices where it is relatively easy to conceal possessions and earnings.

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

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

  • You think your husband is concealing assets/income.
  • Your hubby is aggressive, and you have problem speaking up or you hesitate to voice your viewpoints.
  • There is a history or threat of domestic violence (physical and/or psychological) towards you and/or your kids.
  • You or your partner has a drug/alcohol addiction.

Litigated Divorce

The 4th divorce option is the most common. Nowadays, most of divorcing couples choose the “standard” model of litigated divorce.

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

In 80 percent of cases, the decision to divorce is unilateral– one party wants the divorce and the other does not. That, by its very nature, creates an adversarial scenario right from the start and frequently disqualifies mediation and collective divorce, considering that both techniques rely on the full cooperation of both parties and the voluntary disclosure of all financial information.

Plainly, if you are beginning with an adversarial and extremely emotionally charged scenario, the possibilities are really high that cooperation or mediation might fail. Why take the threat of going those paths when odds are they might fail, losing your money and time?

The most essential and most challenging parts of any divorce are pertaining to an agreement on kid custody, division of assets and liabilities and alimony payments (how much and for how long). Although you desire your lawyer to be a highly competent arbitrator, you do not want somebody who is extremely combative, prepared to fight over anything and whatever. An extremely contentious technique will not just lengthen the discomfort and significantly increase your legal charges, it will also be emotionally harmful to everyone involved, particularly the kids.

Remember: Most divorce attorneys (or at least the ones I would suggest) will constantly strive to come to an affordable settlement with the other party. However if they can’t come to a sensible 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 solve these issues.

Up up until that point both attorneys were “mediators,” trying to get the parties to jeopardize and come to some affordable resolution. When in court, the function of each lawyer modifications.

And don’t forget, as soon as you’re in court, it’s a judge who knows really little about you and your family that will make the decisions about your kids, your property, your cash and how you live your life. That’s a very big risk for both celebrations to take– and that’s also why the danger of litigating is typically such a great deterrent.

Here’s my last word of advice about divorce options: Weigh divorce choices thoroughly. If you have doubts, it is good to be ready with “Plan B” which would be the prosecuted divorce.

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