Whether you have just started to consider separation or you and your spouse are clearly headed for divorce, going through a potentially grueling court process is not your only option.
If you and your future ex-partner can agree to a cooperative approach, pursuing mediation or collaboration rather than litigation may be a healthier choice: financially, logistically and emotionally.
What is divorce mediation?
Both mediated and collaborative divorce require you and your spouse to agree to a problem-solving approach rather than a combative one. Under mediation, a neutral, third-party advisor helps you both to identify and resolve issues ranging from separating assets to creating a workable co-parenting plan.
What is divorce collaboration?
Even if you can agree to negotiate your divorce, you and/or your spouse may not feel comfortable sharing the same legal advisor.
Under collaborative divorce, you each retain your own attorney. However, both your representative and your spouse’s representative must agree not to pursue litigation. Rather, the four of you may negotiate settlement terms over a series of meetings.
What are the benefits of avoiding litigation?
When a divorce goes to court, the judge tries to make a fair decision under the law. However, that decision may not result in an outcome that truly fits the needs of your specific family circumstances.
In addition to minimizing emotional conflict and avoiding the costs and publicity of a court proceeding, either mediation or collaboration may give both you and your spouse much more control over the final outcome of your separation.
With patience and an open mind, these divorce alternatives may help you and your spouse to focus on building a new, separate future rather than reliving and relitigating a painful past.