Divorce, regardless of the legal process, is never easy or painless. If you and your spouse have decided that divorce is the right choice for you and your family, here are some of the options and considerations.
Generally, in a divorce, there is always something that couples will need reconcile and money almost always plays a role. So, you can choose either mediation and the collaborative process, or you start a lawsuit or litigation that will lead to court.
Unless you agree to the terms of your divorce or agree to work out a settlement without going to court, litigation is the route you will take.
A litigated divorce is very common. It follows a traditional pattern via attorneys – one acting for each party. This might sound odd, but the reason so many divorce actions are litigated is that most start with only one party wanting the divorce. More often than not children, as well as the division of assets and liabilities are major elements that have to be sorted out.
The fact that a divorce is litigated doesn’t mean it will necessarily end up in court, with a judge deciding the terms of the divorce. Often a good divorce attorney will help the couple reach an out-of-court settlement.
So why not start the negotiations using mediation or a collaborative divorce process instead of fighting from the start?
The problem is that when a couple isn’t agreed that divorce is the best solution, mediation and collaboration could fail simply because they require the full cooperation of the two people who are heading for divorce. This includes voluntary disclosure of everything relating to their finances.
Divorce mediators help couples agree on the terms of their divorce. Although divorce mediation is commonly carried out by qualified attorneys, this isn’t a necessity. What is important, though, is that the mediator understands divorce and family law.
Even if litigated divorce doesn’t end up in court, it is basically public. Divorce mediation, on the other hand, is private. But if divorce mediation doesn’t work, it can waste time and money.
Often though, a mediator can help work out a collaborative divorce settlement that also avoids fighting issues out in court.
Instead of fighting issues out in court with the help of attorneys, collaborative divorce usually involves couples working out a settlement out of court but via their individual attorneys. It is simpler and less stressful, but will still end up in court so that the matter can be formalized by a judge.
Waggoner Hastings specializes in family and collaborative law and should be your first call if you live in Georgia. We know divorce is never easy, but we can help make it a bit less stressful.