Divorce is not what it once was. The old notion of a couple heading into a courtroom to duke it out over who gets what and where the children should go is no longer the only option. Couples getting a divorce today have several options to consider:
- Traditional divorce. This form of divorce is likely what most people picture when imagining a divorce. A traditional divorce generally involves a court proceeding and is most common when a divorcing couple has a number of contentious issues. This can include severe disagreements about property division and child custody issues.
- Mediation. This is an alternative dispute resolution process that allows the divorcing couple to come to an agreement outside of the courtroom. It generally involves a neutral, third-party mediator that serves to assist the couple in developing an agreement. Each individual can also decide if he or she would like legal representation to better ensure his or her rights are protected during the process.
- Collaborative divorce. This process also occurs outside of the courtroom. Although similar to mediation, there are differences. The collaborative process includes legal representation for each party, as well as other professionals such as financial and mental health experts. These professionals work together as a team. The process is designed to make the divorce process less tense while also better ensuring a favorable settlement agreement.
It is important to note that there are pros and cons to each form of divorce.
For example, it is often best for those that are divorcing due to domestic abuse issues to go through a traditional divorce process. In contrast, those that are going through a divorce that are open to negotiating can save both time and expense by using the mediation or collaborative divorce options.