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The Four Divorce Alternatives

Divorce mediation

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

If you’re a lady who’s pondering divorce, you have several options about how to proceed. In general terms, you need to consider four broad classifications of divorce options: Do-It-Yourself (Do It Yourself), Mediation, Collaborative and Lawsuits. Let’s take a look at the benefits and drawbacks of each one.

Do-It-Yourself Divorce

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

The only scenario I can visualize when a Diy divorce might make any possible sense, might be in a case where the marriage lasted only 2 or three years and there are no kids, little or no assets/debts to be divided, equivalent earnings and no spousal support. In a case like that, a Diy divorce might be accomplished quite quickly and inexpensively.


In divorce mediation, a separating couple deals with a neutral mediator who helps both celebrations pertain to an arrangement on all elements of their divorce. The mediator may or might not be an attorney, but he/she should be incredibly well-versed in divorce and family law. In addition, it is critical for the arbitrator to be neutral and not advocate for either celebration. Both parties still need to consult with their own, private attorneys throughout the mediation and prior to signing the final divorce settlement contract.

Here are a few pros and cons to consider prior to 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 since you will not “fight” in court.
  • Be simpler on kids considering that the divorce procedures may be more peaceful.
  • Speed up an arrangement.
  • Reduce costs.
  • Assist you stay in control of your divorce since you are making the decisions (and the court isn’t).
  • Allow for more discretion. Mediation is personal; litigated divorce is public.

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

  • Waste time and cash. If settlements stop working, you’ll need to begin all over.
  • Be insufficient or unduly beneficial to one partner. If the arbitrator is inexperienced or biased towards your hubby, the outcome could be undesirable for you.
  • Result in an unenforceable agreement. A mediation arrangement that’s uneven or badly drafted can be challenged.
  • Result in legal problems. Any issue of law will still need to be ruled upon by the court.
  • Fail to uncover particular assets. Since all financial details is willingly divulged and there is no subpoena of records, your partner might possibly hide assets/income.
  • Strengthen unhealthy habits patterns. If one partner is dominating and the other is submissive, the final settlement may not be fair.
  • Fuel feelings. Mediation could increase unfavorable habits of a spouse with a tendency for physical/mental or drugs/alcohol abuse.

Couples typically hear about the wonders of mediation and how it is supposedly a much better, less controversial, less costly and more “dignified” way to get a divorce. My greatest issue with mediation is that the sole role and objective of the mediator is to get the celebrations to come to an arrangement– any arrangement! Unless both celebrations can be relatively reasonable and friendly (and if they can be, why are they getting divorced???), I think that mediation is usually not a feasible option for most women.

Collective Divorce

Simply put, collaborative divorce happens when a couple accepts exercise a divorce settlement without litigating.

Throughout a collective divorce both you and your other half will each hire an attorney who has been trained in the collaborative divorce process. The function of the attorneys in a collaborative divorce is rather different than in a conventional divorce. Each lawyer recommends and assists their customer in working out a settlement contract. You will meet your attorney independently and you and your attorney will likewise consult with your husband and his lawyer. The collaborative procedure might likewise involve other neutral experts such as a divorce monetary coordinator who will assist both of you work through your financial problems and a coach or therapist who can help guide both of you through child custody and other mentally charged concerns.

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

Even if the collective process achieves success, you will normally need to appear in family court so a judge can sign the agreement. However the legal process can be much quicker and more economical than conventional lawsuits if the collaborative process works.

However, I have discovered that the collective approach often does not work well to settle divorces involving complicated monetary circumstances or when there are significant possessions. In collaborative divorce, just as in mediation, all monetary details (income, properties and liabilities) is divulged voluntarily. Typically the husband controls the “handbag strings,” and the other half is generally unaware of the information of their financial situation. When this type of inequality exists, the door is frequently wide open for the husband to hide possessions. What’s more, many high net worth divorces involve organizations and expert practices where it is reasonably easy to conceal assets and earnings. In addition, the problem of valuation can be rather contentious.

… as a basic rule, my suggestion is this:

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

  • You suspect your spouse is concealing assets/income.
  • Your partner is imperious, and you have trouble speaking up or you hesitate to voice your viewpoints.
  • There is a history or hazard of domestic violence (physical and/or psychological) towards you and/or your children.
  • You or your husband has a drug/alcohol dependency.

Litigated Divorce

The 4th divorce option is the most common. These days, the majority of separating couples select the “conventional” design of litigated divorce.

Remember, however, “prosecuted” does not indicate the divorce winds up in court. The large majority of all divorce cases (more than 95 percent) reach an out-of-court settlement agreement. “Litigation” is a legal term meaning ‘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, creates an adversarial circumstance right from the start and often disqualifies mediation and collective divorce, given that both approaches rely on the full cooperation of both parties and the voluntary disclosure of all financial information.

Clearly, if you are starting with an adversarial and extremely mentally charged circumstance, the possibilities are really high that partnership or mediation may stop working. Why take the danger of going those paths when chances are they might stop working, squandering your money and time?

The most crucial and most difficult parts of any divorce are coming to an arrangement on child custody, division of assets and liabilities and alimony payments (just how much and for for how long). You desire your lawyer to be an extremely competent arbitrator, you do not desire someone who is overly combative, all set to combat over anything and everything. An overly contentious method will not just lengthen the discomfort and considerably increase your legal charges, it will likewise be mentally detrimental to everybody included, specifically the kids.

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

If you have attempted everything else, and you do wind up in court, things can get really nasty and hostile. Up till that point both lawyers were “arbitrators,” attempting to get the parties to jeopardize and concern some reasonable resolution. When in court, the function of each attorney modifications. Negotiations and compromise transfer to the back burner. Their new task is to “win” and get the best possible outcome for their customer.

And don’t forget, when you remain in court, it’s a judge who knows extremely little about you and your family that will make the final decisions about your kids, your home, your money and how you live your life. That’s a huge threat for both celebrations to take– which’s likewise why the hazard of going to court is typically such a good deterrent.

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

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