Going to court for your divorce may seem like your best or only option, particularly if you feel too angry or betrayed to consider alternatives. However, litigation is a complicated process. It takes time and money that you may not want to devote to ending your marriage.
As such, staying out of the courtroom can be in your best interests. You can do this by pursuing alternative methods of resolving family legal matters.
Options for alternatives to litigation
Instead of litigating your divorce, you could pursue alternative dispute resolutions, including mediation or collaborative practice.
- In mediation, divorcing spouses work with each other to reach solutions. A trained mediator acts as a neutral third party to facilitate discussions and offer possible solutions. He or she does not give legal advice, but guides parties through negotiations.
- Through the collaborative process, divorcing spouses create their own agreements in a non-adversarial environment, similar to mediation. However, instead of using a mediator, they utilize the support of a team of trained professionals providing support and guidance regarding child-related matters, financial issues and emotional well-being.
These approaches allow parties to stay out of the courts, which can save participants time and money. They also enable divorcing spouses to make their own decisions, rather than leaving these matters up to a judge.
What “winning” looks like
In court, parties are working against each other to prevail. In mediation or a collaborative divorce, parties work with each other to reach agreements, which can dramatically affect the outcome.
Divorcing spouses know their situation better than anyone else, and maintaining some control over solutions can empower individuals to pursue creative solutions that best fit their unique needs. As such, parties can feel more satisfied with agreements, which can make the road ahead smoother.
In other words, instead of having a winner and a loser by going to court, both people can walk away from a divorce as winners when they reach solutions together.
Finding the right approach for your divorce
Mediation and collaboration can be appropriate in many situations. However, it is not best for everyone. Before you make any decisions about which method may be right for your case, you can discuss the options with your lawyer.