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The Four Divorce Alternatives

Divorce mediation

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

In fact, if you’re a woman who’s contemplating divorce, you have several alternatives 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 pros and cons of every one.

Do-It-Yourself Divorce

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

The only scenario I can envision when a Diy divorce might make any possible sense, may be in a case where the marital relationship lasted just 2 or three years and there are no kids, little or no assets/debts to be divided, comparable earnings and no alimony. In a case like that, a Do-It-Yourself divorce could be achieved rather quickly and inexpensively.


In divorce mediation, a separating couple works with a neutral arbitrator who assists both parties come to a contract on all aspects of their divorce. Both celebrations still require to seek advice from with their own, private lawyers throughout the mediation and prior to signing the final divorce settlement contract.

Here are a few advantages and disadvantages to consider prior to deciding if mediation will work for you.

On the “professional” side, divorce mediation may:

  • Result in a much better long-term relationship with your ex-husband given that you will not “fight” in court.
  • Be much easier on kids considering that the divorce procedures might be more serene.
  • Expedite an arrangement.
  • Reduce costs.
  • Help you stay in control of your divorce since you are deciding (and the court isn’t).
  • Permit more discretion. Mediation is personal; litigated divorce is public.

On the “con” side, divorce mediation might:

  • Waste time and cash. If settlements stop working, you’ll need to start all over.
  • Be incomplete or unduly beneficial to one spouse. If the conciliator is inexperienced or prejudiced towards your other half, the outcome could be undesirable for you.
  • Lead to an unenforceable agreement. A mediation contract that’s lopsided or improperly drafted can be challenged.
  • Lead to legal complications. Any issue of law will still need to be ruled upon by the court.
  • Fail to discover particular possessions. Considering that all monetary info is voluntarily disclosed and there is no subpoena of records, your husband could 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 habits of a partner with a tendency for physical/mental or drugs/alcohol abuse.

Couples frequently become aware of the wonders of mediation and how it is reportedly a better, less contentious, cheaper and more “dignified” method to get a divorce. However, my most significant issue with mediation is that the sole function and goal of the conciliator is to get the parties to come to an agreement– any agreement! Keep in mind, the arbitrator can not offer any suggestions. All they can do is try to get you to agree. Not all contracts are great agreements, and in fact, in numerous cases, no arrangement is much better than a bad contract. Unless both celebrations can be fairly affordable and friendly (and if they can be, why are they getting divorced???), I think that mediation is typically not a practical option for the majority of women.

Collaborative Divorce

Basically, collective divorce takes place when a couple agrees to work out a divorce settlement without litigating.

Throughout a collaborative divorce both you and your husband will each employ an attorney who has actually been trained in the collective divorce procedure. The role of the lawyers in a collective divorce is rather various than in a conventional divorce. Each lawyer advises and helps their client in negotiating a settlement contract. You will meet your lawyer independently and you and your attorney will likewise consult with your other half and his lawyer. The collective process may likewise involve other neutral professionals such as a divorce monetary organizer who will help both of you overcome your financial issues and a coach or therapist who can assist guide both of you through kid custody and other mentally charged problems.

In the collective procedure, you, your husband and your respective attorneys all need to sign an agreement that requires that both attorneys withdraw from the case if a settlement is not reached and/or if litigation is threatened. If this happens, both you and your other half should begin all over again and discover new attorneys. Neither party can utilize the very 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 arrangement. But the legal process can be much quicker and cheaper than conventional lawsuits if the collaborative process works.

However, I have found that the collaborative technique frequently does not work well to settle divorces involving complicated financial circumstances or when there are significant possessions. In collaborative divorce, simply as in mediation, all monetary information (earnings, possessions and liabilities) is disclosed willingly. What’s more, lots of high net worth divorces involve businesses and professional practices where it is fairly simple to conceal possessions and earnings.

… as a general rule, my suggestion is this:

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

  • You presume your husband 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 risk of domestic violence (physical and/or mental) towards you and/or your children.
  • You or your hubby has a drug/alcohol dependency.

Litigated Divorce

The 4th divorce option is the most common. These days, most of separating couples select the “standard” model of prosecuted divorce.

Keep in mind, though, “prosecuted” does not indicate the divorce ends up in court. The huge bulk of all divorce cases (more than 95 percent) reach an out-of-court settlement contract. “Litigation” is a legal term significance ‘carrying out a claim.’

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, considering that both approaches rely on the complete cooperation of both celebrations and the voluntary disclosure of all monetary info.

Plainly, if you are beginning with an adversarial and highly mentally charged situation, the possibilities are extremely high that cooperation or mediation might stop working. Why take the risk of going those routes when odds are they might stop working, losing your money and time?

The most important and most hard parts of any divorce are pertaining to an agreement on child custody, department of possessions and liabilities and alimony payments (just how much and for the length of time). You desire your attorney to be an extremely skilled negotiator, you don’t want someone who is extremely combative, prepared to fight over anything and everything. An excessively contentious approach will not only extend the pain and substantially increase your legal charges, it will also be emotionally harmful to everybody involved, especially the children.

Keep in mind: Many divorce lawyers (or a minimum of the ones I would suggest) will always make every effort to come to a sensible settlement with the other celebration. If they can’t come to a reasonable settlement or if the other party is totally unreasonable then, unfortunately, going to court, or threatening to do so, may be the only method to resolve these problems.

If you have actually tried whatever else, and you do end up in court, things can get truly nasty and hostile. Up up until that point both lawyers were “mediators,” attempting to get the parties to jeopardize and pertain to some affordable resolution. Once in court, the function of each attorney modifications. Negotiations and compromise relocate to the back burner. Their new task is to “win” and get the very best possible result for their customer.

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 kids, your residential or commercial property, your money and how you live your life. That’s a huge danger for both celebrations to take– which’s likewise why the hazard of litigating is usually such an excellent deterrent.

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

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