Know Your Divorce Options
Clients often wonder which path to take when divorcing, as there are many routes to go – litigation, mediation, Collaborative Divorce, or a DIY online quickie. Here’s a way to understand each option and when you should opt for one over the other.
If you and your spouse have agreed on the details of the divorce and are just ready to file and get it done, litigation may be the way to go.
Litigation is a court-based way to divorce, where the case goes before a judge, who has to sign off for it to be final. Litigation does not always mean a trial!
But sometimes it does. There are other reasons to go the litigation route, such as when one partner is narcissistic and there’s no agreeing to anything. The only choice in such a situation is to take it to court – get in, get out, and know there will be no compromises with such a person.
Another reason couples opt for litigation is when they cannot agree on anything and they need a judge to make a decision for them. It’s definitely not the best thing for a family, but sometimes you have no other choice. In such situations, neither person will be happy, and a judge will never know your family the way you do. Litigation basically stops the bleeding.
This is my favorite way to practice because it’s out of the court system and driven by the needs and desires of the couple and the family.
In Collaborative Divorce, you must listen to the other person and agree to a resolution. It’s a method that can be good for every type of case because it’s not a kumbaya situation, but it does take everyone and everything into account.
Collaborative Divorce can be tough, but it’s always humane. Underlying problems would blow up in court, but in Collaborative Divorce, your team will guide you through emotions to the rational side for negotiation and resolution. The team makes a difference.
Mediation requires compromise. This is a good format for two people who are comfortable communicating with each other and both have a good idea of the marital assets.
Opt for mediation if neither of you is afraid to speak up. While you might not be that comfortable one-on-one, you’ll go through this in a room with a neutral trust third party who can say the things that need to be said.
Mediation is good for couples who understand themselves and will do individual work to bring back to the room with the mediator.