In past decades, divorce often meant taking your separation to court. However, while litigation is often necessary when couples have irresolvable differences, if you and your spouse prefer cooperation over combat, either mediation or collaboration may be good alternatives.
Under either mediated or collaborative divorce, you and your spouse may be able to negotiate a private, out-of-court settlement. In addition to avoiding the antagonism and cost of a traditional litigated divorce, these alternatives may help you to maintain control of important decisions ranging from property division to child custody and support.
How does divorce mediation work?
During mediation, both you and your spouse may attend a series of confidential discussion sessions with a trained mediator. As a neutral third party, your mediator can help to facilitate constructive communication, pinpoint areas of agreement/conflict and suggest creative solutions that work for the whole family.
How is the collaborative process different?
You and your spouse may want to try to end things amicably, but you may also prefer to have your own legal counsel. Under collaborative divorce, you and your spouse may retain your own attorney. However, both sides agree to prioritize constructive negotiation and avoid litigation.
Is an alternative divorce right for you?
Legal expenses, strict deadlines and non-negotiable decisions by the court regarding child support, alimony and more can make a “traditional” court divorce highly intimidating. However, both mediated and collaborative divorce require patience, honesty and a willingness to hear the other party out. If you and your future ex-spouse agree that minimizing conflict is a priority, these alternatives may help you to navigate a happier, healthier path forward.