Divorce is an all too common occurrence for many couples today. It’s also one of the most stressful life events a person can endure. Many couples face a hard choice of dissolving a marriage and being happier, or trying to stick it out for a variety of reasons ranging from children to the financial costs.
Many are under the misconception that divorce always has to be an expensive, long, and vitriolic process. That’s simply not the case. In fact, if you and your significant other are still on amicable enough terms there are a number of options that can save you time, money, and future headaches.
There’s no doubt that people who collaborate together, compromise, and act pragmatically end up having better, longer-lasting divorce resolutions. The more contentious a divorce, the more likely you’ll be going back to court eventually to renegotiate or, worse yet, argue again.
Before you go straight to a divorce lawyer to embark upon a contentious divorce process, consider these faster, simpler, and more affordable options.
One of the defining characteristics of the collaborative divorce process is the written agreement wherein both parties agree to keep the divorce out of the courts. Both parties should have their own attorneys trained in the collaborative divorce process and have the choice of using other collaboratively trained professionals. The collaborative process focuses on the family’s goals, needs, and interests. Both parties and their attorneys will negotiate toward an agreement with the pre-established goal of completing the process quickly, affordably, and in a manner that promotes cooperation and undistorted communication.
Because there are only minimal court appearances and no lengthy divorce fights, collaborative divorce tends to be a much more affordable option than divorce litigation. The terms agreed to in the collaborative process are generally easier for both parties to accept, as they were negotiated and agreed to with everyone’s cooperation, and the process stays focused on each parties’ needs and interests.
Negotiated Divorce Settlements
Negotiated divorce settlements are similar to collaborative divorce agreements except no trained collaborative professionals are required for the negotiated divorce process, and there is no agreement to stay out of court. In a negotiated settlement, both parties work together with their family law attorneys to negotiate an agreement.
If both parties are amicable and are in agreement on the general division of assets, debts, parenting time, and other important factors, then a negotiated divorce may be the ideal solution for them. Negotiated divorces are generally finalized more quickly than prolonged divorce litigation, and cost significantly less because there’s a diminished need for involvement of attorneys or courts.
Specially trained divorce mediators are available for divorcing couples who wish to cut court and legal costs and accomplish their dissolution quickly and without a lot of fighting. One of the mediator’s jobs will be to establish each party’s goals, needs, and interests, after which they will work on helping you develop a resolution that will provide the best outcome for all parties and the smoothest transition. Good mediators should be impartial, objective, and excel at keeping communication progressing in the right direction.
Mediation can be especially beneficial when the divorcing parties are parents to children. In addition to helping divorcing parties come to negotiated agreements, mediators are also trained to advise and help parents on transitioning their children into a two household family.
Divorce by its very nature is a contentious process, which is why it’s not overly surprisingly that many couples just can’t communicate, amicably or otherwise, in the manner required for mediation, collaboration, or negotiation. In these situations divorce litigation is often the only option.
There are also situations of impropriety, such as one party attempting to hide assets or accusations of abuse. In these circumstances divorce litigation is generally unavoidable.
In divorce litigation, a judge will be the final arbiter on issues of assets, children, maintenance, and support issues. There are many steps in the litigation process, beginning with a petition of divorce and ending with a trial, and a judgment for dissolution of marriage.
If you would like to learn more about the steps in between or would like to speak with an attorney about your divorce options, please contact the experienced family law attorneys at the Conniff Law Offices today.