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What are the alternatives to divorce litigation?

Due to the bitter feelings between estranged spouses or intimate partners, divorce is often acrimonious. Divorces can also have grave financial repercussions. Issues such as the assessment of spousal support, child support and child custody can become major points of conflict during a divorce proceeding. In such cases, out-of-court settlements for divorce related issues can prove beneficial.

Mediation is a popular form of divorce settlement under the California Legal System. In divorce mediation, a neutral third party sits in as the mediator to help the estranged spouses to reach an amicable settlement. The mediator, unlike an arbitrator, does not have the power to award any settlements. A mediator's job is just to help the spouses resolve their issues.

Estranged spouses seeking divorce mediation may find it helpful to appoint legal counsel to help them resolve all issues. Thus a mediation agreement is reached when all parties involved come to a common understanding. Mediation is preferred by many as it costs a fraction of litigation. Furthermore, it helps keep bitter battles between spouses behind closed doors.

Collaborative divorce, also called collaborative law, is another method of divorce settlement proceedings. In this case, the spouses negotiate the terms of the divorce agreement with the help of professional counselors. In this case, as opposed to divorce mediation, professional help is a necessity.

The terms of the settlement regarding issues like custody and spousal support are negotiated between both parties. The lawyers then draft a contract enumerating the various provisions agreed upon along with the stipulation that the estranged spouses would not go to court.

Any couple in California who is thinking about divorce should consider all of the legal methods of resolving divorce issues.

Source: California Courts, "Resolve Your Divorce or Separation Out of Court," Accessed on Aug. 21, 2014

Source: California Courts, "Resolve Your Divorce or Separation Out of Court," Accessed on Aug. 21, 2014

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John T. Chamberlin, Attorney at Law
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