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The 4 Divorce Alternatives

Divorce mediation

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

In fact, if you’re a woman who’s considering divorce, you have a number of options about how to continue. In general terms, you need to consider 4 broad classifications of divorce options: Do-It-Yourself (DIY), Mediation, Collaborative and Litigation. Let’s take a look at the benefits and drawbacks of each one.

Do-It-Yourself Divorce

The best suggestions I can offer you about Do-It-Yourself Divorce, is DON’T Do-It-Yourself!

The only scenario I can envision when a Diy 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, similar earnings and no alimony. In a case like that, a Do-It-Yourself divorce could be achieved rather rapidly and inexpensively.


In divorce mediation, a divorcing couple deals with a neutral mediator who helps both parties come to an agreement on all aspects of their divorce. The mediator may or might not be a legal representative, but he/she should be extremely skilled in divorce and family law. In addition, it is important for the mediator to be neutral and not promote for either celebration. Both parties still need to speak with their own, individual attorneys during the mediation and prior to signing the last divorce settlement arrangement.

Here are a few pros and cons to think about prior to 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 “fight” in court.
  • Be easier on kids because the divorce proceedings may be more tranquil.
  • Speed up an agreement.
  • Reduce costs.
  • Help you stay in control of your divorce due to the fact that you are making the decisions (and the court isn’t).
  • Permit more discretion. Mediation is private; litigated divorce is public.

On the “con” side, divorce mediation may:

  • Lose time and money. If settlements fail, you’ll need to begin all over.
  • Be insufficient or unduly favorable to one spouse. If the mediator is inexperienced or prejudiced towards your hubby, the outcome could be undesirable for you.
  • Lead to an unenforceable agreement. A mediation agreement that’s uneven or badly drafted can be challenged.
  • Cause legal complications. Any concern of law will still need to be ruled upon by the court.
  • Fail to uncover particular possessions. Considering that all monetary details is willingly disclosed and there is no subpoena of records, your partner could potentially hide assets/income.
  • Enhance unhealthy habits patterns. If one spouse is controling and the other is submissive, the final settlement may not be fair.
  • Fuel feelings. Mediation might increase unfavorable habits of a spouse with a tendency for physical/mental or drugs/alcohol abuse.

Couples typically become aware of the marvels of mediation and how it is apparently a better, less controversial, less expensive and more “dignified” way to get a divorce. My most significant issue with mediation is that the sole function and goal of the conciliator is to get the celebrations to come to an arrangement– any agreement! Remember, the mediator can not provide any guidance. All they can do is attempt to get you to agree. Not all contracts are great contracts, and in fact, in many cases, no agreement is much better than a bad arrangement. So unless both parties can be relatively reasonable and friendly (and if they can be, why are they getting divorced???), I think that mediation is typically not a practical choice for the majority of females.

Collaborative Divorce

Put simply, collective divorce happens when a couple agrees to work out a divorce settlement without litigating.

Throughout a collaborative divorce both you and your other half will each hire a lawyer who has been trained in the collective divorce procedure. The function of the lawyers in a collective divorce is rather different than in a traditional divorce.

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

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

Sadly, though, I have discovered that the collective technique frequently doesn’t work well to settle divorces including complex financial situations or when there are considerable possessions. In collective divorce, just as in mediation, all financial info (earnings, possessions and liabilities) is divulged willingly. Frequently the husband controls the “handbag strings,” and the other half is usually uninformed of the details of their financial scenario. When this kind of inequality exists, the door is often wide open for the hubby to hide properties. What’s more, numerous high net worth divorces involve companies and expert practices where it is reasonably simple to conceal possessions and income. In addition, the issue of valuation can be quite contentious.

… as a basic guideline, my suggestion is this:

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

  • You presume your hubby is hiding assets/income.
  • Your other half is imperious, and you have trouble speaking out or you hesitate to voice your opinions.
  • There is a history or risk of domestic violence (physical and/or psychological) towards you and/or your children.
  • You or your other half has a drug/alcohol addiction.

Litigated Divorce

The fourth divorce option is the most common. These days, the majority of separating couples select the “standard” model of litigated divorce.

Bear in mind, though, “litigated” does not imply the divorce ends up in court. The large majority of all divorce cases (more than 95 percent) reach an out-of-court settlement agreement. “Lawsuits” is a legal term meaning ‘carrying out a claim.’

Why are claims a part of divorce? Since contrary to popular belief, divorce generally does not include two people equally agreeing to end their marital relationship. In 80 percent of cases, the decision to divorce is unilateral– one party desires the divorce and the other does not. That, by its very nature, produces an adversarial scenario right from the start and typically disqualifies mediation and collective divorce, given that both methods 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 highly emotionally charged circumstance, the chances are really high that cooperation or mediation may fail. Why take the risk of going those routes when chances are they might fail, wasting your time and money?

The most crucial and most hard parts of any divorce are pertaining to an arrangement on child custody, department of possessions and liabilities and alimony payments (how much and for how long). You desire your lawyer to be a highly knowledgeable negotiator, you don’t want someone who is excessively combative, prepared to battle over anything and whatever. An extremely contentious technique will not just lengthen the discomfort and significantly increase your legal costs, it will likewise be emotionally detrimental to everybody included, especially the kids.

Remember: Many divorce lawyers (or a minimum of the ones I would suggest) will always aim to come to a reasonable settlement with the other celebration. If they can’t come to a sensible settlement or if the other celebration is entirely unreasonable then, regrettably, going to court, or threatening to do so, may be the only way to resolve these concerns.

Up till that point both lawyers were “arbitrators,” trying to get the parties to compromise and come to some reasonable resolution. Once in court, the role of each attorney changes.

And don’t forget, once you’re in court, it’s a judge who understands very 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 risk for both celebrations to take– which’s likewise why the risk of litigating is generally such an excellent deterrent.

Here’s my last word of advice about divorce alternatives: Weigh divorce options thoroughly. The bottom line is that every family, and every divorce, is various. Obviously, if you are able to deal with your partner to make decisions and both of you are sincere and affordable, then mediation or the collective technique might be best. If you have doubts, it is great to be ready with “Plan B” which would be the prosecuted divorce.

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