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The Four Divorce Alternatives

Divorce mediation

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

In fact, if you’re a woman who’s pondering divorce, you have several choices about how to proceed. In general terms, you need to consider four broad categories of divorce alternatives: Do-It-Yourself (Do It Yourself), Mediation, Collaborative and Litigation. Let’s have a look at the benefits and drawbacks of every one.

Do-It-Yourself Divorce

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

The only situation I can visualize when a Do-It-Yourself divorce may make any possible sense, might be in a case where the marriage lasted only two or 3 years and there are no kids, little or no assets/debts to be divided, equivalent incomes and no spousal support. In a case like that, a Do-It-Yourself divorce could be accomplished rather quickly and cheaply.


In divorce mediation, a separating couple works with a neutral mediator who helps both celebrations come to an arrangement on all elements of their divorce. Both parties still need to consult with their own, individual lawyers throughout the mediation and prior to signing the last divorce settlement arrangement.

Here are a couple of pros and cons to think about before choosing 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 “battle” in court.
  • Be much easier on kids considering that the divorce procedures may be more serene.
  • Speed up an agreement.
  • Reduce expenditures.
  • Assist you remain in control of your divorce because you are making the decisions (and the court isn’t).
  • Allow for more discretion. Mediation is personal; prosecuted divorce is public.

On the “con” side, divorce mediation may:

  • Lose time and money. If negotiations stop working, you’ll require to begin all over.
  • Be insufficient or unduly favorable to one spouse. If the mediator is inexperienced or biased towards your hubby, the outcome could be unfavorable for you.
  • Result in an unenforceable arrangement. A mediation contract that’s lopsided or badly prepared can be challenged.
  • Cause legal complications. Any problem of law will still require to be ruled upon by the court.
  • Fail to uncover particular possessions. Because all financial information is voluntarily revealed and there is no subpoena of records, your husband might possibly hide assets/income.
  • Enhance unhealthy behavior patterns. If one spouse is controling and the other is submissive, the last settlement may not be reasonable.
  • Fuel emotions. Mediation could increase negative behavior of a partner with a tendency for physical/mental or drugs/alcohol abuse.

Couples often hear about the marvels of mediation and how it is reportedly a much better, less controversial, less expensive and more “dignified” method to get a divorce. My most significant problem with mediation is that the sole function and objective of the mediator is to get the parties to come to an agreement– any agreement! Unless both celebrations can be fairly sensible and friendly (and if they can be, why are they getting divorced???), I believe that mediation is typically not a feasible alternative for most females.

Collaborative Divorce

Put simply, collaborative divorce takes place when a couple agrees to work out a divorce settlement without litigating.

During a collaborative divorce both you and your spouse will each work with a lawyer who has actually been trained in the collective divorce procedure. The role of the attorneys in a collaborative divorce is quite various than in a traditional divorce. Each lawyer encourages and assists their client in negotiating a settlement agreement. You will meet with your lawyer separately and you and your attorney will also meet with your spouse and his lawyer. The collective process might likewise involve other neutral experts such as a divorce financial planner who will help both of you resolve your monetary concerns and a coach or therapist who can help direct both of you through child custody and other mentally charged concerns.

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

Even if the collaborative process is successful, you will generally 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 standard litigation if the collective process works.

However, I have discovered that the collaborative method frequently doesn’t work well to settle divorces involving complicated monetary scenarios or when there are significant properties. In collective divorce, just as in mediation, all financial details (income, properties and liabilities) is divulged voluntarily. What’s more, numerous high net worth divorces involve organizations and professional practices where it is relatively easy to conceal properties and earnings.

… 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 believe your husband is hiding assets/income.
  • Your husband is domineering, and you have difficulty speaking up or you’re afraid to voice your viewpoints.
  • There is a history or threat of domestic violence (physical and/or mental) towards you and/or your children.
  • You or your spouse has a drug/alcohol dependency.

Litigated Divorce

The 4th divorce choice is the most typical. Nowadays, the majority of divorcing couples pick the “standard” model of litigated divorce.

Keep in mind, though, “prosecuted” does not indicate the divorce ends up in court. In fact, 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 celebration wants the divorce and the other does not. That, by its very nature, develops an adversarial circumstance right from the start and typically disqualifies mediation and collective divorce, since both approaches rely on the full cooperation of both celebrations and the voluntary disclosure of all financial details.

Clearly, if you are beginning with an adversarial and extremely emotionally charged circumstance, the chances are very high that partnership or mediation may fail. Why take the danger of going those routes when chances are they might fail, squandering your time and money?

The most essential and most tough parts of any divorce are coming to an agreement on child custody, department of properties and liabilities and spousal support payments (how much and for for how long). You want your lawyer to be a highly experienced negotiator, you do not want someone who is excessively combative, all set to fight over anything and whatever. An extremely controversial approach will not only extend the discomfort and significantly increase your legal fees, it will likewise be mentally harmful to everybody included, specifically the children.

Keep in mind: The majority of divorce attorneys (or a minimum of the ones I would suggest) will always aim to come to an affordable settlement with the other celebration. But if they can’t concern an affordable settlement or if the other celebration is completely unreasonable then, sadly, going to court, or threatening to do so, might be the only way to deal with these concerns.

If you have tried whatever else, and you do end up in court, things can get truly nasty and hostile. Up until that point both lawyers were “negotiators,” attempting to get the celebrations to compromise and come to some sensible resolution. But once in court, the function of each attorney changes. Negotiations and compromise move to the back burner. Their brand-new job is to “win” and get the best possible outcome for their customer.

And don’t forget, as soon as 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 property, your money and how you live your life. That’s a huge danger for both celebrations to take– and that’s also why the danger of litigating is typically such a good deterrent.

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

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