If you and your spouse have made the decision to divorce, you may be dreading a long, drawn-out court battle. Fortunately, there are alternatives that are less stressful and less costly.
Two common alternatives are collaborative divorce and mediation. If you and your spouse are able and willing to communicate with each other, either method may be effective.
According to FindLaw, mediation consists of the two spouses coming to a divorce agreement with the help of a mediator, who is a neutral third-party. Each side can involve attorneys, but they are not a required part of the process. The mediator helps guide discussions between the two parties and helps to solve problems when necessary.
If the couple is trying to divide assets and there is some complexity, they can involve other professionals such as an accountant or financial advisor. Although mediation is beneficial for many, it may not be the best choice if the two sides are unwilling to negotiate.
Collaborative divorce is another alternative to litigation, but it does require that both sides use an attorney, and there is no neutral third-party. According to the Harvard Law School Program on Negotiation, during a collaborative divorce, the two clients and their attorneys sit down together to negotiate an agreement.
The two spouses agree to disclose all relevant information, jointly pay for experts, respect each other and honor the other’s wants and needs. This process generally consists of a series of sessions in which each side gets a chance to speak. The attorneys are there to support their clients, present arguments and assist with negotiations.
Both mediation and collaboration are less contentious than litigation, and each presents its own benefits.