Divorce – Must you Fight it Out in Court?May 31, 2015
Can You Avoid Traditional Divorce Litigation?
When first meeting with clients regarding a divorce, there are several questions that are always asked…how long does the divorce take? What is the process to obtain a divorce? What if we reach an agreement – do we still have to go to court?
Obtaining a divorce does not always mean that the parties have to “fight it out” in court. There are several options available to individuals that afford clients alternatives to traditional litigation.
Mediation is a process where the parties meet with a neutral third party with specialized mediation training. The mediator can be another lawyer, but not necessarily. The mediator assists the parties in resolving their disputes and reaching an agreement regarding any issues the couple may have, such as support, custody and/or issues surrounding the division of property. The mediator cannot give legal advice and does not have the ability to make a decision for the parties, but they have the ability to assist the parties in making their own decision. If successful, mediation can be a quicker, more cost effective alternative to traditional litigation.
Arbitration is a process where the parties meet with a neutral third party, the arbitrator. However, with arbitration, the arbitrator is a decision-making authority. The parties present their issues and the arbitrator makes a decision regarding the issues raised by the parties. Although somewhat similar to litigation, arbitration is appealing to some individuals because the parties can dictate the arbitrator, when the arbitration occurs and the issues to present to the arbitrator. Arbitration can also be quicker and more cost effective for individuals seeking a divorce.
A third alternative available to divorcing couples is Collaborative Law. Collaborative Law is a process where both parties are represented by attorneys trained in the collaborative law process. The parties commit to the promise and enter an agreement not to go to court. Rather, the parties work together with their attorneys in a series of 4-party meetings to resolve issues. The collaborative process can be beneficial to the parties and can result in a prompt resolution.
Will the Alternatives to Divorce Court Work for You?
These alternatives to resolving a divorce are not suited for everyone. Whether or not these options are something that will work depends on the specific situation and the parties involved. If you are contemplating divorce are if you are in the process of divorce but want to try and avoid going to court, then talk with your lawyer for more information on the options available.