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The Four Divorce Alternatives

Divorce mediation

No 2 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 pondering divorce, you have several options about how to proceed. In general terms, you require to consider four broad classifications of divorce options: Do-It-Yourself (Do It Yourself), Mediation, Collaborative and Litigation. Let’s take a look at the benefits and drawbacks of every 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 really made complex, both lawfully and economically. You can quickly make mistakes, and often those mistakes are irreversible. The only scenario I can visualize when a Do-It-Yourself divorce may make any possible sense, might be in a case where the marriage lasted just two or 3 years and there are no kids, little or no assets/debts to be divided, equivalent incomes and no alimony. In a case like that, a Do-It-Yourself divorce could be accomplished rather rapidly and inexpensively. However, I would still highly advise that each celebration have their own separate attorney review the last files.


In divorce mediation, a separating couple works with a neutral mediator who assists both celebrations concern a contract on all elements of their divorce. The conciliator may or might not be an attorney, but he/she must be exceptionally well-versed in divorce and family law. In addition, it is important for the mediator to be neutral and not advocate for either celebration. Both celebrations still need to seek advice from their own, individual attorneys throughout the mediation and prior to signing the last divorce settlement contract.

Here are a few benefits and drawbacks to think about 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 because you will not “fight” in court.
  • Be much easier on children since the divorce proceedings may be more tranquil.
  • Speed up a contract.
  • Reduce expenses.
  • Assist you stay in control of your divorce since you are making the decisions (and the court isn’t).
  • Permit more discretion. Mediation is personal; litigated divorce is public.

On the “con” side, divorce mediation may:

  • Waste time and money. If settlements stop working, you’ll need to start all over.
  • Be incomplete or unduly beneficial to one partner. If the mediator is inexperienced or prejudiced towards your husband, the outcome could be undesirable for you.
  • Result in an unenforceable arrangement. A mediation agreement that’s lopsided or badly prepared can be challenged.
  • Lead to legal issues. Any issue of law will still require to be ruled upon by the court.
  • Fail to uncover certain assets. Considering that all monetary details is voluntarily revealed and there is no subpoena of records, your partner could possibly hide assets/income.
  • Reinforce unhealthy habits patterns. If one spouse is dominating and the other is submissive, the last settlement might not be reasonable.
  • Fuel emotions. Mediation could increase unfavorable behavior of a partner with a tendency for physical/mental or drugs/alcohol abuse.

Couples typically hear about the wonders of mediation and how it is supposedly a better, less controversial, less costly and more “dignified” method to get a divorce. However, my biggest problem with mediation is that the sole function and goal of the mediator is to get the parties to come to an arrangement– any arrangement! Keep in mind, the mediator can not provide any recommendations. All they can do is try to get you to concur. Regrettably, not all contracts are great arrangements, and in fact, in many cases, no contract is better than a bad contract. So unless both celebrations can be relatively affordable and friendly (and if they can be, why are they getting separated???), I believe that mediation is typically not a viable option for the majority of ladies.

Collaborative Divorce

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

During a collective divorce both you and your hubby will each work with a lawyer who has been trained in the collaborative divorce process. The function of the lawyers in a collective divorce is rather various than in a standard divorce. Each lawyer encourages and helps their client in working out a settlement contract. You will consult with your attorney individually and you and your attorney will also meet your husband and his attorney. The collective procedure may likewise involve other neutral professionals such as a divorce monetary planner who will help both of you work through your financial problems and a coach or therapist who can help guide both of you through kid custody and other mentally charged concerns.

In the collective procedure, you, your partner and your particular attorneys all should sign an arrangement that requires that both attorneys withdraw from the case if a settlement is not reached and/or if lawsuits is threatened. If this takes place, both you and your other half should begin all over again and find brand-new lawyers. Neither party can utilize the very same lawyers again!

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

However, I have discovered that the collaborative method typically doesn’t work well to settle divorces involving complicated monetary situations or when there are significant possessions. In collective divorce, just as in mediation, all monetary info (earnings, properties and liabilities) is disclosed willingly. What’s more, lots of high net worth divorces involve services and expert practices where it is fairly easy to conceal properties and income.

… as a general guideline, my recommendation is this:

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

  • You think your hubby is hiding assets/income.
  • Your spouse is aggressive, and you have trouble 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 kids.
  • You or your hubby has a drug/alcohol addiction.

Litigated Divorce

The fourth divorce alternative is the most common. Nowadays, the majority of divorcing couples select the “traditional” design of litigated divorce.

Keep in mind, however, “litigated” does not mean the divorce ends up in court. In fact, the vast bulk of all divorce cases (more than 95 percent) reach an out-of-court settlement agreement. “Litigation” is a legal term meaning ‘performing a claim.’

In 80 percent of cases, the decision 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 frequently disqualifies mediation and collaborative divorce, since both approaches rely on the full cooperation of both celebrations and the voluntary disclosure of all financial details.

Plainly, if you are starting with an adversarial and extremely emotionally charged situation, the chances are really high that cooperation or mediation might stop working. Why take the danger of going those routes when chances are they might fail, losing your time and money?

The most important and most difficult parts of any divorce are coming to a contract on child custody, division of possessions and liabilities and alimony payments (just how much and for how long). You want your attorney to be a highly competent negotiator, you do not want someone who is extremely combative, prepared to battle over anything and whatever. An extremely contentious approach will not just extend the discomfort and considerably increase your legal fees, it will likewise be emotionally destructive to everyone included, particularly the kids.

Keep in mind: Many divorce attorneys (or a minimum of the ones I would recommend) will always make every effort to come to a reasonable settlement with the other celebration. However if they can’t pertain to a reasonable settlement or if the other party is entirely unreasonable then, regrettably, going to court, or threatening to do so, might be the only method to deal with these concerns.

Up up until that point both attorneys were “negotiators,” trying to get the parties to compromise and come to some reasonable resolution. Once in court, the role of each lawyer modifications.

And do not forget, when you remain in court, it’s a judge who understands extremely little about you and your family that will make the final decisions about your children, your home, your money and how you live your life. That’s a huge danger for both parties to take– and that’s also why the danger of going to court is generally such a good deterrent.

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

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