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The Four Divorce Alternatives

Divorce mediation

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

In fact, if you’re a woman who’s pondering divorce, you have a number of options about how to continue. In general terms, you need to consider four broad categories of divorce alternatives: 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 best guidance I can offer you about Do-It-Yourself Divorce, is DON’T Do-It-Yourself!

Divorce is very complicated, both lawfully and financially. You can easily make errors, and typically those mistakes are irreversible. The only scenario I can visualize when a Diy divorce might make any possible sense, might be in a case where the marital relationship lasted only 2 or 3 years and there are no kids, little or no assets/debts to be divided, comparable earnings and no spousal support. In a case like that, a Do-It-Yourself divorce could be accomplished quite quickly and inexpensively. Nevertheless, I would still extremely advise that each celebration have their own different attorney review the last documents.

Mediation

In divorce mediation, a divorcing couple works with a neutral arbitrator who assists both celebrations come to a contract on all aspects of their divorce. Both celebrations still need to seek advice from with their own, specific lawyers throughout the mediation and prior to signing the last divorce settlement agreement.

Here are a couple of pros and cons to consider prior to deciding if mediation will work for you.

On the “pro” side, divorce mediation might:

  • Result in a much better long-lasting relationship with your ex-husband given that you will not “combat” in court.
  • Be much easier on kids given that the divorce proceedings might be more peaceful.
  • Expedite a contract.
  • Reduce expenses.
  • Assist you remain in control of your divorce since you are making the decisions (and the court isn’t).
  • Permit more discretion. Mediation is private; prosecuted divorce is public.

On the “con” side, divorce mediation may:

  • Lose time and money. If negotiations stop working, you’ll need to start all over.
  • Be insufficient or unduly favorable to one partner. If the arbitrator is inexperienced or prejudiced towards your partner, the result could be unfavorable for you.
  • Lead to an unenforceable contract. A mediation contract that’s uneven or poorly drafted can be challenged.
  • Lead to legal problems. Any concern of law will still need to be ruled upon by the court.
  • Fail to reveal particular possessions. Given that all financial information is voluntarily divulged and there is no subpoena of records, your partner could possibly hide assets/income.
  • Enhance unhealthy habits patterns. If one spouse is dominating and the other is submissive, the last settlement might not be reasonable.
  • Fuel feelings. Mediation could increase negative behavior 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 much better, less controversial, less pricey and more “dignified” method to get a divorce. My most significant problem with mediation is that the sole role and objective of the conciliator is to get the celebrations to come to a contract– any agreement! Unless both celebrations can be fairly affordable and friendly (and if they can be, why are they getting separated???), I think that mediation is generally not a feasible alternative for most women.

Collective Divorce

Simply put, collective divorce occurs when a couple agrees to exercise a divorce settlement without litigating.

Throughout a collaborative divorce both you and your husband will each work with a lawyer who has actually been trained in the collective divorce procedure. The function of the attorneys in a collective divorce is quite different than in a standard divorce. Each lawyer recommends and assists their customer in negotiating a settlement arrangement. You will meet your attorney independently and you and your lawyer will likewise meet your hubby and his attorney. The collective process might likewise include other neutral specialists such as a divorce monetary coordinator who will assist both of you overcome your financial problems and a coach or therapist who can assist guide both of you through kid custody and other emotionally charged issues.

In the collaborative process, you, your husband and your particular attorneys all must sign a contract that needs that both lawyers withdraw from the case if a settlement is not reached and/or if litigation is threatened. If this takes place, both you and your husband should start all over once again and find new attorneys. Neither party can utilize the very same attorneys again!

Even if the collaborative procedure is successful, you will normally have to appear in family court so a judge can sign the arrangement. The legal procedure can be much quicker and less pricey than standard lawsuits if the collective procedure works.

However, I have discovered that the collective approach often doesn’t work well to settle divorces involving complex financial situations or when there are substantial assets. In collective divorce, just as in mediation, all monetary information (earnings, assets and liabilities) is revealed willingly. What’s more, lots of high net worth divorces include services and expert practices where it is fairly easy to conceal properties and earnings.

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

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

  • You presume your hubby is concealing assets/income.
  • Your partner is domineering, 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 mental) towards you and/or your children.
  • You or your partner has a drug/alcohol addiction.

Litigated Divorce

The 4th divorce alternative is the most typical. These days, the majority of divorcing couples choose the “traditional” model of litigated divorce.

Bear in mind, though, “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 ‘carrying out a suit.’

In 80 percent of cases, the choice to divorce is unilateral– one celebration wants the divorce and the other does not. That, by its very nature, produces an adversarial scenario right from the start and often disqualifies mediation and collaborative divorce, given that both techniques rely on the full cooperation of both parties and the voluntary disclosure of all financial info.

Clearly, if you are starting with an adversarial and extremely mentally charged situation, the possibilities are extremely high that collaboration or mediation might fail. Why take the risk of going those paths when chances are they might fail, squandering your money and time?

The most essential and most hard parts of any divorce are pertaining to an arrangement on child custody, department of assets and liabilities and spousal support payments (just how much and for the length of time). Although you desire your attorney to be an extremely knowledgeable negotiator, you don’t desire somebody who is extremely combative, prepared to fight over anything and whatever. An extremely controversial method will not only lengthen the pain and considerably increase your legal fees, it will likewise be mentally destructive to everybody included, particularly the children.

Keep in mind: Most divorce attorneys (or at least the ones I would advise) will constantly strive to come to a reasonable settlement with the other celebration. If they can’t come to a reasonable settlement or if the other celebration is totally unreasonable then, sadly, going to court, or threatening to do so, may be the only way to deal with these problems.

Up up until that point both lawyers were “mediators,” attempting to get the celebrations to jeopardize and come to some sensible resolution. When in court, the function of each attorney changes.

And do not forget, once you remain in court, it’s a judge who knows extremely little about you and your family that will make the decisions about your children, your residential or commercial property, your money and how you live your life. That’s a huge threat for both celebrations to take– which’s likewise why the threat of litigating is generally such an excellent deterrent.

Here’s my last word of recommendations about divorce options: Weigh divorce options thoroughly. The bottom line is that every family, and every divorce, is different. Obviously, if you have the ability to deal with your spouse to make decisions and both of you are truthful and affordable, then mediation or the collective technique might be best. But, if you have doubts, it is great to be ready with “Plan B” which would be the litigated divorce.

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