Your divorce doesn’t have to be like the hostile contentious divorce proceedings you see on TV. There are other options to the traditional litigated divorce; both options are confidential and can save you money and time during the very stressful divorce process. If you decide that mediation or a collaborative divorce is right for you, contact a local lawyer with experience in both areas.
Mediation is a legal process facilitated by a neutral third-party, the mediator. During mediation, the couple meets with the mediator to come to a mutual agreement in all important areas, such as finances and property. For the process to work, the couple needs to be able to agree without a significant amount of dispute (which may mean this is not right for all couples). All resolutions are agreed upon by both spouses, meaning they control the outcome; there are no rulings made by outside parties.
Mediation is completely confidential, both now and in the future. Both members of the couple schedule meetings when they are available, instead of receiving summons from the court system with pre-scheduled, often inconvenient times. Because of these advantages, the overall mediation process can cost less than a litigated divorce.
If there are areas of dispute, a collaborative divorce may be the answer. During a collaborative divorce, each spouse retains a lawyer who is present at all meetings. The lawyers and spouses set the meetings to discuss important areas, and may bring in experts to resolve issues (such as an accountant or child custody specialist). In a collaborative divorce, there is some time spent in a courtroom but that time is minimal because major issues have been decided.
Just like mediation, a collaborative divorce is confidential with a few exceptions. Your lawyer can outline those exceptions if you decide a collaborative divorce is in your best interest. The final judgment is a matter of public record.
Similar to mediation, a collaborative divorce can be less expensive that a litigated divorce. For the most part, the meetings are scheduled at times that work for both parties until the final time in court (which is scheduled by the court).
If you are interested in mediation or a collaborative divorce, contact a local lawyer with experience in family law. A lawyer can guide you through whatever process is right for you and your family.