When people consider separation, sometimes high-profile divorces come to mind. A tabloid divorce conjures up visions of anger, money, and the ultimate goal of coming out on top.
A Traditional litigated divorce is when each party has their own lawyer. They generally don’t work together for settlement, but each spouse fights the other over division of assets, child custody, and child and spousal support. They look to the court for the resolution of their issues, which means the divorce takes longer as they jockey for court time, and because of this, fees continue to accumulate.
It doesn’t have to be that way. You can prepare for a non-adversarial divorce by learning about divorce process options, such as mediation and collaboration, that encourage you and your spouse to cooperate with each other, reduce your hostility, and have a peaceful resolution before beginning life anew.
What is Mediation?
In mediation, you and your spouse can each have your own consulting attorney. You will meet with a neutral party, who is the mediator, who will guide you to resolving your issues outside of court. If you can agree on most of the issues, you can ask the court for intervention to resolve the few remaining issues.
The neutral mediator does not give you legal advice. That is why it’s good to have your own consulting attorney who will meet with you and the mediator, but you can meet without your legal advisors being present if that works for you.
When you have resolved all the issues, your agreement is put into writing and filed with the court. Your agreement becomes your final divorce judgment.
What is a Collaborative Divorce?
In a Collaborative Divorce process, you, and your spouse each hire your own attorney who are committed to resolving your issues outside of court.
You meet with your attorneys and a team of professionals to help you come up with your own settlement agreement and a parenting plan, if needed. A financial professional can help each of you to make realistic budgets for your future.
A child psychologist can help you make the best decisions for your children. You may even work with a divorce coach to help you deal with potential emotional issues.
When you are in accord with your spouse on all the issues, as in mediation, your agreement is put in writing and filed with the court which becomes your final divorce decree.
This article was originally published on the Collaborative Divorce California’s website.