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Overview of the alternatives to divorce

Divorce is a difficult and final decision to undergo. If you choose to divorce, there is no going back (unless you re-marry). Therefore, some people try an alternative to traditional divorce proceedings. Each method has its pros and cons, just like divorce. There are four basic types of divorce: the do-it-yourself, mediated, collaborative, and traditional divorce. This post will go over the basics of those alternatives.

The do-it-yourself divorce means that you and your ex-spouse handle the divorce proceedings on your won. The DIY divorce is workable for families with few assets to divide, no children, the marriage was relatively short, and is amicable. The DIY divorce, mainly, works if your life is uncomplicated and the decision to divorce is mutual. Understandably, the DIY is the cheapest because you only need to pay the court filing fees, but it is also difficult to pull off.

Mediated divorce involves you hiring a lawyer to mediate the divorce for you. The attorney guides you through the legal requirements and helps you and your ex-spouse agree to a divorce settlement. Mediated divorce is relatively cheap, but it only works if both spouses want it to work. The moment one of you becomes intransigent over a particular item, mediation no longer works. The attorney lacks any legal power to compel either one of you to compromise or agree.

Collaborative divorce is similar to mediated except each spouse hires their attorney. Together these four people (the spouses and their lawyers) cooperate to find a joint solution for the divorce. The inclusion of two attorneys ensures that every legal hurdle is overcome however the process depends on the willingness of the lawyers and spouses to cooperate.

Finally, litigated divorce is when you each hire your attorneys, file for divorce in court, and communicate to one another through your respective attorneys. It is the most expensive method but it is also the most likely to settle all of your issues at once completely.

You don’t need to file in court to obtain a divorce; there are alternatives. If you are considering separation or divorce, you should contact a lawyer. An attorney can go over the legal options for you and advise you on the best strategy to obtain your goals. You shouldn’t try to go through this alone; a lawyer can help.

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John T. Chamberlin, Attorney at Law
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