Know The Growing Methods of Divorce and Why These Options Matter
What are the different methods of divorce?
The fact that 50% of American families divorce is an unpleasant fact of life.
Handling divorce and its effects destroy lives and bankrupt families every day.
But there are now optimist alternatives to expensive and lengthy traditional Family Law practices that save tremendous time in court, thousands of dollars in legal fees and a ton of heartache.
Here is a glimpse at each of them:
- DIY Uncontested — Uncontested divorce occurs when both spouses are in agreement and file all necessary paperwork jointly. This divorce works effectively for couples who agree on essential matters like child custody, child support, and property distribution. This method of filing is usually the most efficient and cost-effective.
- Default — When one spouse cannot be found or has not responded to the divorce petition promptly, this form of divorce is granted. If this occurs, the divorcing spouse might petition a judge to award a divorce by default.
- Mediation — A mediator is hired to work with the divorcing couple as a trained neutral party that facilitates active participation and respectful conversation between the two parties to bargain directly with each other, generally without the use of legal counsel. The mediator does not make a decision and cannot provide legal advice; instead, he or she assists the parties in reaching a mutual agreement. Legal counsel and financial experts may be present during the mediation to assist their clients in making educated decisions. More states are requiring mediation as a part of litigated cases to expedite the agreement process.
- Litigated/Uncontested — If the divorcing parties are able to reach an agreement but are not aware of alternatives to litigation they often retain an attorney to file the complaint, serve their spouse, attend a hearing and allow a judge to formalize the dissolution of the marriage and pay excessive fees out of ignorance.
- Litigated/Contested — If the divorcing parties are unable to reach an agreement on critical matters such as legal and physical child custody, child support obligations, division of marital assets and debt distribution or spousal support they can choose to proceed to discovery, interrogatories, hearings and ultimately a trial. A judge hears both sides’ arguments and makes a decision in a contested divorce. This is the most expensive, time-consuming, and public divorce.
- Collaborative — A lawyer is employed by both parties. Each side signs a contract agreeing to disclose all facts and reach an out-of-court settlement agreement. This sort of divorce provides for legal assistance while maintaining the privacy of the process. New attorneys must be found if the two parties reach a stalemate that must be decided by a judge. This collective approach is also known as “Amicable Divorce” and is growing in popularity due to its flat-fee approach and mutually followed agreements and guidelines.
- Arbitration — An arbitrator, usually a retired judge or experienced family law attorney who has either retired or made a shift in their practice is hired to hear and review the case. The arbitrator’s decision is final and can not be appealed.
The acceptance of additional viable methods of divorce is growing in popularity due to their high success rate, lower cost and less adversarial nature. Being aware that there is more than one successful way to end a marriage is vital to choosing the right method when divorce is found necessary.
The period of time before divorce, sometimes years in contemplation and preparation, knowing if divorce is the only option to take when a marriage is “on the rocks” can make or break the outcome.
Working with an experienced Divorce Coach who will educate and guide every step of the way can prevent making painful, time-consuming and very expensive mistakes.