Divorce doesn’t have to be a battle. Even though you and your spouse have decided to end your marriage, you have a choice about how you want to proceed through the divorce process. One option, of course, is to engage in all-out warfare. That’s expensive and time-consuming, and takes an emotional toll as well. Fortunately, there are other options.
Divorce mediation, collaborative divorce, and arbitration or private judging are all ways that you can stay out of divorce court. With mediation and collaboration, you’ll work together with your spouse to come to an agreement that works for both of you and for your kids, if you have them. A divorce mediator is a neutral professional who sits down with both of you (and your attorneys if you have them) to help you craft a settlement that resolves all the issues in your divorce—property, support, and child custody and visitation. In a collaborative process, you and your spouse both have attorneys, but you all agree not to go to court but instead to work toward a settlement in a series of four-way meetings. If you aren’t able to reach an agreement on your own, you can use arbitration or private judging to hire a private attorney or judge to listen to both sides and make decisions for you.
All of these scenarios keep your divorce private, and all of them allow you to complete the divorce much faster than you would if you asked a court to make decisions for you after a trial. Mediation and collaboration also have the advantage of being much less expensive than going to court, and all of these alternatives to court protect your privacy.
As an added benefit of mediation or collaboration, you’re likely to come out with an agreement you can live with, and, if you have children, you will have built the foundation for a productive ongoing relationship with their other parent.