Getting a divorce? Know which alternative is best for you

On behalf of Jarrell, Hicks & Waldman, PC posted in Divorce on Tuesday, May 1, 2012.

Many people who may be contemplating divorce may not realize that there are different types of divorce and depending on your situation; there may be an easier way to go through the process. While divorce may be common, how you proceed can vary widely.

There are four types of divorce processes, with three of them most recommended by attorneys. The first type of divorce is the do-it-yourself divorce. While it may sound like the way to go, most experts believe that you should not go this route. Divorce is a legal process and you could hurt yourself in the long run by not understanding what you could be giving up.

The second type of divorce process is called mediation. This is a method where a divorcing couple works with a neutral mediator that helps with all aspects of the divorce. The mediator may or may not be a lawyer, but understands family law and divorce. Mediation works best if you both have come to terms with the divorce and don't foresee anything that could stall the negotiations. It can result in a better relationship with your ex-spouse, make the divorce easier on the children, it reduces the cost of the divorce and you both get a say in the decision when dividing assets.

A collaborative divorce is where a couple agrees to work out their divorce settlement without going to court. In this approach, each person would hire their own attorney who understands the collaborative divorce process. The attorney helps their client in negotiating a settlement agreement. A divorce financial planner is also brought in to work through the financial issues as well as a coach or therapist to work through child custody and other highly sensitive issues. The collaborative process can be quicker and less expensive than traditional litigation.

The most common type of divorce is the litigated divorce. Most of these types of cases do not end up in court, unless both parties can't come to an agreement about certain issues. In these cases a judge will decide.

Every situation is different and a person needs to weigh their divorce options carefully. The goal for everyone involved is to move on with their lives after the divorce.

Source: Forbes, "The Four Divorce Alternatives," Jeff Landers, April 24, 2012

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