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Can you use alternative dispute resolution in your divorce?

So, it's official. You've decided to call it quits on your marriage. Neither of you want to litigate a messy divorce in court, however.

That's commendable, especially if children are involved, as it can be exceedingly difficult to co-parent civilly after dragging each other through the mud in divorce court. Which options does that leave you?

Mediation is a popular choice of divorcing couples. Choosing to let a mediator guide the divorce process for you can be a good choice. But, as usual, there are some caveats.

Both spouses must commit to utter transparency about assets, as there will be no discovery process compelled by the court. Relying solely on voluntary disclosures rather than subpoenas from the court can allow a dishonest spouse to stash assets from the other. Then, too, spouses have to be respectful and not browbeat one another into submission.

But if those potential roadblocks can be avoided, choosing to mediate your divorce can save you both time and money and add a welcome layer of privacy to your divorce.

Collaborative divorces are another way to sidestep the litigation process. The two attorneys provide advice and assistance while their clients negotiate the terms of the divorce. Sometimes, a financial planner and family therapist may be added to the team to help sort through some complex issues involving spousal support, asset division and/or custody.

However, if you fail to reach accord, both spouses must start over with two new attorneys to proceed to litigation.

Are either of these options viable for you? They may be, but you need to have a clear picture of the divorce and marital scenario before you decide how to end your marriage. Seeking advice and guidance before initiating any action is a prudent way to start.

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John T. Chamberlin, Attorney at Law
699 Peters Avenue
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Pleasanton, CA 94566

Phone: 925-271-5650
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