Before you begin the long, arduous and possibly painful road to dissolving your marriage you need to consider the following questions:
- Is separation an alternative to divorce, which will allow time for reflection and possible reconciliation?
- Are you and your partner still in love?
- Has the marriage just become stale?
- Is it possible that counseling could help you understand and resolve your problem?
A “yes” answer to any of the above questions should be a caution for you to consider reconciliation before a divorce. A short discussion with our Conflict Resolution Counselor can assist you in choosing the best decision for your situation.
The following information is to advise you of the various option available. However, the information is offered as a guide only and should not be considered as a replacement for professional consultation and open discussion
However, if you are unsure for any reason if divorce is right for you, please read our “20 Self-Reflection Questions To Ask Yourself.”
Pro Se is the simplest and least expensive option if both parties are in total agreement regarding finances, property, and custody. No attorney or professional is involved. The parties do all the work themselves; they represent themselves, prepare and file the documents with the court and finalize the divorce decree.
An Uncontested Divorce is similar to Pro Se where both parties are in total agreement regarding finances, property, and custody, but they use an attorney to prepare and file the documents with the court and finalize the divorce decree.
Early-Stage Mediation is usually the option of choice when parties are in general agreement, but there is room to maneuver to an agreement on finances, property, and custody. Parties may choose whether or not to be represented by an attorney. In this process, records and information are produced voluntarily, eliminating the need for depositions. All parties are present at mediation discussions, which promotes negotiation and agreement. Following a successful conclusion, an attorney will prepare the final documents for a court approval hearing.
A Collaborative Divorce provides a mediated and negotiated settlement where both parties are congenial to one another and are in general agreement, but need more complex negotiations on finances, property, and custody.
The collaborative team includes attorneys for both parties and specialists such as financial advisors and a neutral mental health professional counselor, who usually acts as arbitrator. The team may also enlist the advice of divorce coaches and child specialists as necessary.
Records and information are produced voluntarily, eliminating the need for depositions. All parties are present at mediation discussions, which promotes negotiation and agreement. When a successful agreement is reached, your attorney will prepare the final documents for a court approval hearing.
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Late-Stage-Caucus Mediation is an out-of-court mediation process that is conducted with the same discipline and structure as a divorce trial and is best suited when the distance between the parties is too immense for regular mediation or collaboration. The legal representatives for both parties are responsible for depositions and discovery. With parties in separate rooms, intense and detailed back-and-forth negotiations continue until a final agreement is confirmed. Following a successful conclusion, an attorney will prepare the final documents for a court approval hearing.
Litigation is the final option if it is impossible to reach a negotiated settlement because of the antagonist and uncooperative position of one or both parties. It is usual, but not obligatory, for parties to be represented by attorneys. An attorney-conducted discovery process can be expensive and can further inflame an already acrimonious situation. With the protracted discovery process and the need to fit into court and judges schedules, a litigated divorce can take an exceptionally long time. After hearing all the evidence and arguments, the judge will make the final ruling.