Divorce can really bring up things that are never meant to be brought up when two people are married. Things tend to take nasty turn especially when personal matters are dragged to the court and you only talk there. Most of the divorces that happened in the court take an ugly turn. Since, no two marriages are the same, why do the divorces have to end up with the same outcome. Makes no sense, right? Much to your surprise, there are several options available to couples who are contemplating divorce. These options will turn out to be more economic, friendly, and won’t put you in a position where you can’t even look at your ex-partner anymore.
In this article, we’ll introduce you to four broad categories that are top substitutes to a courtroom divorce:-
- Do-it-Yourself Divorce
- Collaborative Divorce
Let’s have a look at what’s in there for you under these divorce alternatives:
1. Do-it-yourself Divorce
The best advice we can give to a couple considering divorce is to opt for Do-It-Yourself divorce. But don’t do-it-yourself and let your attorneys represent you. Divorce is financially & emotionally draining. Taking the things to the court will simply add to your problems and make it worse. You may end up making mistakes and losing out on something important if you let the court handle your case.
You must sit down with your partner to argue the points for a do-it-yourself divorce. How smoothly you can process a Do-It-Yourself divcorce will also depend on the factors like whether the marriage was short-term or lasted for years, are there any children involved, are there any debts and assets to be divided, and the discussion about incomes & alimonies. We feel that Do-It-Yourself are pretty successful in the cases where:
- The marriage lasted only for 2-3 years
- There are no children involved
- There are little or no assets/debts which are to be divided
- Parties do not require income comparisons
- No alimony is demanded
If your case qualifies all above points, you can definitely execute DIY divoce without paying much. At the same time, we highly recommend that each of the parties must hire a separate attorney to examine the final outcomes and documents.
In divorce mediation, a professional neutral mediator can help both parties reach a mutual agreement on the various aspects of the divorce. The divorce mediator doesn’t have to be a divorce attorney, but he/she must have extensive knowledge of marriage & divorce laws.
It is of paramount importance to ascertain that the mediator needs to be neutral, not a lawyer for any of the parties.
We advise both the parties to speak to their individual attorney during the mediation and before inking the divorce settlement agreement.
Here are some benefits of divorce mediation:
- A mediated divorce may not end you up cursing each other and you can still have a respectful relationship in the long term – which is highly unlikely if you FIGHT in the court.
- Divorce mediation don’t affect children as much since it is quite peaceful in comparison to a courtroom divorce
- It is more economic
- You have more control over your case than your lawyers and judge.
- You can make better decisions based on what’s better for you and what’s not.
- Helps you keep things private and more respectful.
- Expedite an agreement.
Negative Sides of Divorce Mediation
- Divorce mediation can be a total waste of time and money in case you fail to come to a conclusion. Intentions of each of the party matter a lot here.
- The main challenge of divorce mediation is finding an unbiased mediator. If you end up with the mediator who is bent towards one party, the outcomes may not be justifiable for the other.
- Sometimes, mediated divorces end up up with the outcome that is not forceable. Poorly drafted agreements can be challenged by the party which is not satisfied with the outcome.
- Some legal issues may also arise during divorce mediation. Any issue that involves law must be tackled by the court.
- Both parties may or may not have the complete information about the other party’s assets in case they don’t voluntarily disclose their assets. This may hinder the asset distribution process.
- The final outcome may be affected by unhealthy behavioral issues. For example, if one spouse is more dominating and the other is submissive, the final outcome might be unfair.
Please note that the mediator plays a crucial role in this divorce process. So, your primary focus has to be hiring the professional and experienced mediator who is capable of bringing the case to a healthy and fair conclusion. The mediator shouldn’t be giving advice to any of the party. The only thing which is in their rights is to agree or to get you to agree. If carried out amicably, divorce mediation is the best option for the couple looking for a viable and more economic divorce option.
3. Collaborative Divorce
Collaborative Divorce is a preferred alternative divorce if you wish to make the settlement outside the courtroom. During a collaborative divorce, you and your partner need to employ an attorney who is well-versed with the collaborative divorce process. Their role differs significantly from a typical attorney; they’ll suggest and assist their clients in settling the Divorce mutually.
You must talk your attorney to your partner’s attorney and discuss child custody and several other emotionally charged subjects.
In the collaborative divorce process, both the spouses and their attorneys must sign an agreement which mentions that both attorneys must withdraw from the case if both parties fail to reach a settlement and if the litigation is threatened. And if this situation arises, both of the spouses must hire new attorneys. They can’t work with the same attorneys again. You can also involve other professionals like financial planners who can help you set up viable financial arrangements. You may also involve a therapist as well in order to tackle emotional issues.
If you succeed in coming to a settlement through collaborative divorce, you still have to visit the courtroom at least once for the judge to sign the final agreement. But, the overall process will be much faster and inexpensive than the traditional litigated divorce process.
When Not To Choose Collaborative Divorce?
Collaborative divorce works best if both the parties agree that they can communicate and carry the whole process without losing mutual respect. If there are emotional issues, parenting issues, and not-so-complicated financial issues, you may choose to involve other professionals like the therapists and financial planners. But, if your finances are more complicated than you think, and if you have been a couple with a high level of conflicts, or you have been in a violent relationship, collaborative divorce is highly not recommended for you. Therefore, watch carefully before choosing to proceed with the collaborative divorce.
4. Litigated Divorce
It is the most prevailing type of divorce if the couple is having trouble cooperating. And most people confuse the term with the courtroom divorce. Please remember that all the litigated divcorce cases don’t have to end up in a courtroom. Litigation is just the term for “carrying out a lawsuit”. Infact, a vast majority of litigated divorces reach a final settlement outside the court.
A lawsuit will always be part of your divorce case. It is essentially important because two people often don’t agree mutually to end a marriage. As much as 80 percent of the divorces cases are of a kind where one party agrees to a divorce while the other doesn’t. This might create a controversial situation between the spouses, and hence, can make it difficult to facilitate the divorce through the other three options we discussed above. Do-It-Yourself divorce might still be an option but a lawsuit is kinda necessary. Even if you go against the odds and still choose mediated or collaborative divorce, chances are that you’ll fail and all your money will go down the drain and you’ll have to proceed with a litigated divorce. So our suggestion – DO NOT TAKE CHANCES.
The procedure involves submitting all the issues you face with your partner to the family court to deal with them, leaving both parties satisfied effectively.
Let’s Wrap Up
Weigh these divorce substitutes carefully. The bottom line is every marriage is different; thus, there is no one-umbrella approach. Obviously, if you think you can mutually work out with your partner, then mediation and do-it-yourself are the most recommended divorce options. Otherwise, if you’ve doubts, you can always switch to a ligated divorce and settle the divorce without court hearings.
Remember that the most important aspects of a divorce are child custody, division of assets, and alimony payments. Most of the divorce attorneys will try their best to offer a reasonable settlement. But, in case you don’t find the final settlement reasonable or if you think the final outcome is one-sided, DO NOT HESITATE to take your divorce case to the court.