Because no marriage is similar to another, it should follow that no divorce is the same. In fact, if you are contemplating divorce, you have several other alternatives to consider. They include:
Divorce is a very complicated procedure in terms of finances and legalese. Therefore, if you decide to represent yourself, you can end up making very costly mistakes.
You should not opt for this type of divorce no matter how cash-strapped you are because any mistakes that you make are irreversible.
The only people who should attempt do-it-yourself divorces are those with short marriages, which did not result in any kids.
This means that there are very few assets or debts to be split. If your marriage is like that, then you can accomplish your divorce quite cheaply and easily.
However, you still need to have an attorney to look over the final documents.
Instead of going through a painful court case, you can opt for mediation, where you and your partner work with a mediator to settle all aspects of your divorce.
Your mediator can be an attorney who is well versed in family law and divorce. Moreover, the mediator needs to be neutral – this means that he cannot advocate for either party.
David D. Stein, a Bay Area divorce lawyer, points out that “Be smart. Instead of looking to fight, look for areas of agreement to build upon and achieve a settlement. Be very mindful of spending thousands to argue over hundreds. Know that almost all cases settle. The sooner you can get into a settlement posture; the better off you will be both financially and emotionally.”
Will mediation work for you? Here are several pros and cons of this process:
When you opt for mediation, your relationship with your ex can be salvaged because you will not need to go to court. Divorce cases tend to bring out the worst in people.
Divorce is hard on children because you have to decide who gets them. However, when you choose mediation, the divorce proceedings are more peaceful for the kids.
Mediation also reduces expenses and speeds up the agreement.
When you choose mediation, you will have more discretion and stay in control of the divorce because both of you will be in charge of the proceedings.
If mediation fails, you will need to start over, which is a huge waste of money. This process can also favor one spouse if the mediator is biased towards either party. If the agreement is poorly drafted, it can end up being unenforceable.
If one of you is dominant and the other is submissive, the divorce mediation will not be fair.
The main goal of a mediation is to reach an agreement. However, not all agreements are good and you might end up with a raw deal.
This only works when a couple agrees to a divorce settlement without going to court. If you opt for collaborative divorce, you and your spouse will both need to hire attorneys who are experienced in handling collaborative divorce.
The role of an attorney is to advise and help you to negotiate a settlement.
You and your spouse as well as your representatives must sign an agreement that allows the lawyers to withdraw from the case if you cannot reach a settlement.
If this happens to you, the whole process must be repeated with new lawyers because you cannot use the same attorney.
This is the most common type of divorce. However, you should keep in mind that not all litigation divorces end up in court. In fact, the vast majority of divorce cases usually result in out-of-court settlements.
If your marriage ended because one party decided that it was over, then an out-of-court settlement might be impossible because one of you is bitter.
You should first consider all the above alternatives because typical divorce cases hurt more people than they help.