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The 4 Divorce Alternatives

Divorce mediation

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

If you’re a female who’s contemplating divorce, you have several alternatives about how to continue. In general terms, you need to consider four broad classifications of divorce alternatives: Do-It-Yourself (Do It Yourself), Mediation, Collaborative and Litigation. Let’s take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of each one.

Do-It-Yourself Divorce

The best recommendations I can offer 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 just two or three 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 Diy divorce might be achieved rather quickly and cheaply.


In divorce mediation, a separating couple deals with a neutral mediator who assists both celebrations come to a contract on all aspects of their divorce. The mediator may or might not be a lawyer, but he/she needs to be extremely fluent in divorce and family law. In addition, it is important for the arbitrator to be neutral and not promote for either party. Both parties still need to speak with their own, specific attorneys during the mediation and prior to signing the last divorce settlement arrangement.

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

On the “professional” side, divorce mediation might:

  • Lead to a better long-term relationship with your ex-husband given that you will not “combat” in court.
  • Be easier on kids since the divorce procedures may be more serene.
  • Speed up a contract.
  • Reduce costs.
  • Help you remain in control of your divorce due to the fact that you are making the decisions (and the court isn’t).
  • Allow for more discretion. Mediation is private; prosecuted divorce is public.

On the “con” side, divorce mediation may:

  • Waste time and cash. If negotiations fail, you’ll need to start all over.
  • Be incomplete or unduly beneficial to one spouse. If the arbitrator is inexperienced or prejudiced towards your hubby, the result could be unfavorable for you.
  • Result in an unenforceable agreement. A mediation agreement that’s uneven or improperly drafted can be challenged.
  • Result in legal problems. Any concern of law will still need to be ruled upon by the court.
  • Fail to reveal specific properties. Because all monetary info is voluntarily divulged and there is no subpoena of records, your hubby could potentially conceal assets/income.
  • Enhance unhealthy behavior patterns. If one spouse is dominating and the other is submissive, the final settlement might not be fair.
  • Fuel feelings. Mediation might increase negative behavior of a spouse with a propensity for physical/mental or drugs/alcohol abuse.

Couples often hear about the marvels of mediation and how it is apparently a much better, less controversial, less costly and more “dignified” method to get a divorce. My biggest problem with mediation is that the sole function and goal of the mediator is to get the celebrations to come to a contract– any agreement! Unless both celebrations can be fairly affordable and amicable (and if they can be, why are they getting separated???), I believe that mediation is usually not a feasible option for many ladies.

Collective Divorce

Simply put, collaborative divorce occurs when a couple consents to exercise a divorce settlement without going to court.

Throughout a collaborative divorce both you and your partner will each hire a lawyer who has been trained in the collective divorce procedure. The function of the attorneys in a collaborative divorce is rather different than in a traditional divorce. Each lawyer advises and helps their customer in working out a settlement agreement. You will meet with your lawyer separately and you and your attorney will also meet with your other half and his lawyer. The collaborative process might likewise include other neutral professionals such as a divorce monetary planner who will help both of you work through your monetary concerns and a coach or therapist who can help direct both of you through child custody and other emotionally charged issues.

In the collaborative procedure, you, your partner and your particular attorneys all need to sign an arrangement 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 other half should start all over again and discover new lawyers. Neither celebration can use the same attorneys once again!

Even if the collective process succeeds, you will usually need to appear in family court so a judge can sign the arrangement. However the legal process can be much quicker and less costly than traditional lawsuits if the collaborative procedure works.

Though, I have found that the collective technique typically does not work well to settle divorces involving complex monetary situations or when there are considerable assets. In collective divorce, just as in mediation, all financial information (earnings, possessions and liabilities) is divulged willingly. What’s more, many high net worth divorces involve companies and professional practices where it is fairly simple to conceal assets and income.

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

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

  • You presume your hubby is concealing assets/income.
  • Your spouse is prideful, and you have problem speaking up or you’re afraid to voice your opinions.
  • There is a history or threat of domestic violence (physical and/or mental) towards you and/or your kids.
  • You or your partner has a drug/alcohol dependency.

Litigated Divorce

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

Bear in mind, however, “litigated” does not suggest the divorce ends up in court. In fact, the huge bulk of all divorce cases (more than 95 percent) reach an out-of-court settlement arrangement. “Litigation” is a legal term significance ‘carrying out a lawsuit.’

In 80 percent of cases, the choice to divorce is unilateral– one celebration desires the divorce and the other does not. That, by its very nature, develops an adversarial circumstance right from the start and frequently disqualifies mediation and collective divorce, because both techniques rely on the complete cooperation of both celebrations and the voluntary disclosure of all monetary information.

Clearly, if you are starting out with an adversarial and extremely emotionally charged scenario, the chances are extremely high that cooperation or mediation might fail. Why take the risk of going those routes when odds are they might fail, wasting your money and time?

The most essential and most tough parts of any divorce are coming to an arrangement on child custody, division of assets and liabilities and spousal support payments (just how much and for the length of time). Although you want your lawyer to be a highly experienced negotiator, you do not want somebody who is overly combative, prepared to combat over anything and whatever. An extremely controversial method will not only lengthen the pain and considerably increase your legal costs, it will likewise be emotionally damaging to everyone included, specifically the children.

Remember: Many divorce attorneys (or a minimum of the ones I would advise) will always make every effort to come to an affordable settlement with the other celebration. But if they can’t come to an affordable settlement or if the other party is entirely unreasonable then, sadly, going to court, or threatening to do so, might be the only method to deal with these issues.

Up up until that point both lawyers were “negotiators,” trying to get the celebrations to jeopardize and come to some reasonable resolution. When in court, the function of each lawyer changes.

And don’t forget, once you’re in court, it’s a judge who understands really little about you and your family that will make the final decisions about your kids, your residential or commercial property, your cash and how you live your life. That’s a very big threat for both celebrations to take– which’s also why the risk of litigating is usually such a great deterrent.

Here’s my last word of suggestions about divorce options: Weigh divorce options thoroughly. The bottom line is that every family, and every divorce, is various. Clearly, if you are able to deal with your partner to make decisions and both of you are sincere and sensible, then mediation or the collective method might be best. However, if you have doubts, it is great to be ready with “Fallback” which would be the prosecuted divorce.

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