Your options for divorce are not a one size fits all. There are several different paths that can lead to a divorce both spouses consider fair. The dissolution of a marriage can be emotionally and financially overwhelming, so it’s extremely important to be informed about your options before beginning this difficult process.
Divorce can take place inside or outside of the court system and it is completely up to the couple as to how they divorce. Most people are familiar with the in-court process (or litigation) whereby each spouse retains their own attorney and the attorneys argue on their client’s behalf in court. Very few couples walk away from this process feeling like they were treated fairly.
Because an in-court divorce is very public and the process is often out of the couple’s control, the couple should first look to an out-of-court divorce. Out-of-court proceedings are recognized by the courts and limited information may be submitted in order to reach a final judgement. This can provide the privacy of both financial circumstances and family issues. Unfortunately, not all couples can agree on a settlement and litigation maybe their only option.
For those that can negotiate with their spouse, Collaboration, Mediation, Arbitration or Do-It-Yourself (DIY) divorce could be a better option. These out-of-court processes allow the divorcing couple to maintain control, in varying degrees, and maintain their privacy. DIY divorce is self-explanatory. Arbitration is most like the court process. Couples (and their attorneys) present their case and the arbitrator makes the final decision which is then legally binding on the couple. Mediation and collaboration are like each other, in that the primary focus of the process is mutually beneficial resolution. Mediation and collaboration work by assisting with communication, providing relevant information, and discussing potential options. Unlike mediation, where only one professional may be relied upon, collaboration uses an attorney for each spouse and a financial and mental health professional. By using these professionals together as a team, often in the same meeting, issues tend to be addressed quicker and with relevant expertise. Collaboration and mediation have a relatively high satisfaction rate among divorcing couples because the couple control the process and maintain their privacy.
No matter what form of divorce a couple uses, employing the right professionals is imperative. Having the right team working on the couple’s behalf provides the knowledge and satisfaction both spouses need to reach a final settlement that both will agree is a fair one. Knowing your options let’s you control your divorce process.