If you, or someone you know, is about to go through a divorce it’s important to be familiar with the different options you have. Hollywood movies often show divorces as lengthy and difficult court trials, but depending on the nature of your relationship, it is possible to choose from a number of approaches to successfully bring an end to your marriage.
This is probably the most familiar approach to divorce wherein both parties hire lawyers to represent their interests. This is necessary when the divorcing parties may have strong disagreements about the way to resolve property division, child or spousal support, or any other issues involved. Though it is not necessary, the two lawyer approach may culminate in court with litigation, or simply be resolved with a Separation Agreement.
Mediation is an approach that is possible when both parties are willing to work together to find a compromise that works for everyone. In this approach, a neutral third party acts as the mediator to help find resolutions on decisions related to property, child custody and support, and other issues involved in the divorce. The mediator’s job is to intervene and facilitate the conversation if there is a disagreement from either party on the terms.
Mediation can be attended to with, or without, lawyers present depending on the circumstances.
This approach is similar to Mediation in that it relies on a neutral, third-party to help make final decisions on terms. However, in this approach, if the parties fail to settle at mediation, each party will present their arguments and evidence to the mediator who will act as an arbitrator. In this role, the arbitrator will make final determinations to decide the best course of action.
The judgments made by the arbitrator are legally binding, though they are still subject to the appeal process.
This approach is based on the couple having a mutual desire to work together to resolve disputes and find mutually-beneficial terms out of Court. Both parties will work together with a collaborative-trained family lawyer who will advise them on proper legal procedures and precedents as the couple works out their Separation Agreement. This takes place in a series of settlement meetings with both parties and their lawyers (as well as any third party professionals, if necessary) present.
This collaborative approach is typically less expensive and a more speedy process than a lengthy Court case.
To find the best approach for a divorce, the most valuable course of action is to talk to your local family law lawyer to consider your options. You can take advantage of a free initial consultation to get an idea if the law firm has the expertise to manage your case – and to get a sense of what to expect throughout the process.