Divorce Alternatives: Which One Is Right For You?
Divorce is a fact of life and there is no one-size-fits-all solution to it. From the time you decide that you want to start your divorce case, there are dozens of questions that come up and answers that you need to decide for yourself. Thankfully, you have options and a few different ways you can proceed with your divorce. It starts with knowing the most common types of divorce.
Although a do-it-yourself divorce is an alternative, it can be difficult. Divorce does not follow any patterns or formulas and therefore, there can be unforeseen roadblocks and challenges. Divorce can be emotionally upsetting and financially devastating. It may even be too much for many people to navigate alone. The legal ramifications of doing something wrong could be traumatic and probably not worth the hassle and effort of a do-it-yourself divorce.
Mediation is a collaborative approach to divorce where a legal representative, a lawyer or paralegal training in mediation will facilitate the divorce. They will even file for divorce for you and you may never end up seeing the inside of a courtroom. The mediator works with both parties in a safe space to work out all the details and come to an agreement on essential matters such as child custody, visitation, and equitable division of assets.
Mediation is generally much less expensive than traditional divorce. The mediator is a neutral party and does not side with either of you. The process is usually simpler, quicker, and much easier on the children and the family as a whole. Relationships where both parties are amicable work better for mediation. Another significant benefit is the fact that mediation is entirely private whereas regular divorce is open to public record.
A collaborative divorce is another alternative and a unique approach. Each party obtains their own lawyer but agrees to work out the details outside of the court. Each person meets privately with their attorney and the lawyer advises them on how to proceed and what to request. Then, both lawyers and clients meet as a group to discuss all the details.
If all parties cannot come to an agreement, then the collaborative process dissolves and they must proceed with a traditional, court-based divorce. In situations where there are a lot of financial assets and a complicated division process, this style of divorce may not work well.
The most popular form of divorce is a litigated divorce where both parties retain the services of a lawyer and one party sues the other for divorce. 80% of all divorces are initiated by one party where the other one does not want to divorce.
In highly explosive cases where the two parties cannot get along, this is often the only viable option. A divorce lawyer will fight for you and what is legally yours to claim. They will also advise you on things like child support and custody.
The lawyers carry out most of the nasty debating and work out the details until both parties reach an agreement. Sometimes, an out-of-court arrangement can be settled. A litigated divorce, however, can be emotionally upsetting, stressful, and very expensive.
How to Choose the Right Divorce Option
Before making a decision, it is good to be informed. The best place to start is to research marriage laws by state so that you will know what to expect and what you are entitled to by law. It also helps to know the most common types of divorce.
If the decision to divorce is mutually agreed upon, then mediation or a collaborative approach might work the best for your family. If there is a lot of anger and discussion is not possible, then you may have to take the traditional road and go with a litigated divorce.
Regardless of which option you choose to use for your divorce, make sure you are well informed. Hire attorneys or mediators with good reputations and take time to get over your divorce. Explain to the kids what is happening and why for their positive well-being.
See Also: How Does A Divorce Work With A Child?