You may not realize this as you start your divorce journey, but a divorce doesn’t automatically mean a long, complicated battle in court. You do have alternatives — and not just “staying married.”
Here are some of your choices:
An uncontested divorce is possible if you and your spouse can agree on everything — including who walks away with any given assets. You only have to go into litigation with a “contested” divorce when there are unresolved issues that have to be decided by a judge.
Uncontested divorces are particularly easy for couples who have little or no assets, couples who have been married only a short while and couples who want a quick way out of their marriage.
In a mediated divorce, there are usually a few issues that a couple can’t resolve without help — but they’re willing to try to find a solution that doesn’t involve turning things over to a judge. Each half of the couple gets their own attorney to consult with during negotiations, but a neutral mediator brings the parties together to try to hammer out an agreement.
Mediation works well for couples who want to avoid the chaos and expense of a litigated divorce but can’t quite find a middle ground on their own.
Collaborative divorces put a little more pressure than mediation on couples to find a middle ground. Each party has their own attorney — but the attorneys are obligated to withdraw from the case if the negotiations fall apart. Since that would mean starting all over (and significantly more expense) it tends to motivate everyone to try to make reasonable concessions.
If you’re uncertain if one of these alternatives to litigation is appropriate for your divorce, talk to an attorney today about your concerns.