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Understanding the Four Main Divorce Options

By Nottage and Ward on April 30, 2012

Every marriage is different and, likewise, the type of divorce that may work for one couple may not be possible for another. If you have been thinking about divorce, there are four main options for how you can proceed, according to an article in Forbes. Understanding what each of those options are and the pros and cons of each can help you decide what type of divorce will be the best for you.

The first option is do-it-yourself divorce. The bottom-line for DIY divorce is don’t do-it-yourself. Divorce is a complicated process and trying to get through that whole process by yourself can lead to irreversible mistakes. The only circumstances which would make DIY divorce beneficial are if it was a very short marriage, there are no children, little to no marital debt or assets which must be divided, no alimony, and comparable incomes.

Another option is mediation. With this option, the divorcing couple comes to an agreement on all areas of their divorce with the help of a neutral mediator, who may or may not be an actual attorney. Consulting with an attorney during mediation is still advisable during mediation. If you do not have an agreeable relationship with your soon-to-be ex-spouse, however, negotiations through mediation will likely be unsuccessful and an ultimate waste of time and money. Moreover, imbalances of power that existed in your relationship during the marriage will likely persist during the mediation and put one spouse at a distinct disadvantage to the other.

The next option is collaborative divorce. In collaborative divorce, you and your spouse work on a divorce agreement outside of court. Each spouse retains the services of a collaborative law divorce attorney who will advise and assist them during settlement negotiations. The collaborative process may prove less expensive and quicker than litigation – if it works. If there is a lot of “bad blood” between you and your spouse or an imbalance of power in the relationship, negotiations are destined to fail, in which case you may have to start all over, with new attorneys, at substantial additional cost.

The final option is litigation, where you and your spouse retain your own attorneys and utilize the court system to resolve your differences. This does not mean a litigated divorce necessarily goes to court. This is the most common form of divorce and is usually the only option when one spouse wants a divorce but the other doesn’t, when the parties are unable to communicate and cooperate, or where the relationship between the parties is otherwise ill-suited for alternative dispute resolution.

At Nottage and Ward, we are committed to ensuring that your divorce goes as efficiently as possible. Mediation or a collaborative divorce may be options for you. If you would like to determine whether collaborative divorce or mediation is right for you, contact our Chicago collaborative law attorneys today for a consultation at (312) 332-2915.

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