The 4 Paths to Divorce: A Sneak Peek of Divorce Like A Pro

Paths to Divorce

Most people assume there’s only one way to divorce. And that’s with two sides facing off in a courtroom. Not only is it an intimidating prospect, but it’s also a costly and time-consuming one that leaves your fate in the hands of a stranger in a black robe. Thankfully you have other options. Here are the four main paths to divorce:

Option One – Kitchen Table Talks

This option costs the least and has the least amount of outside intervention. With kitchen table talks you simply sit down together with your soon-to-be-ex and discuss all of the issues you would need to address to proceed through the process of divorce including child support, child custody, spousal support, and the division of assets and debts. 

If you can resolve all of these issues, then in some states, you can be able to simply use an online form to obtain an uncontested divorce. Of course, you still have the option of hiring a lawyer to help complete the uncontested divorce paperwork or draft the agreement to ensure it covers all legal bases. This option is ideal for couples who are amicable, where there’s no power imbalance, and who freely share financial information. 

Option Two – Mediation

In this option, you receive some professional, neutral support in maintaining communications and ensuring open disclosure. However, mediation is still a lower-cost option and it allows you both to maintain a high level of control over the decision-making process. 

During mediation, both you and your soon-to-be-ex would be informed of your rights to child support, spousal support, and other matters in their jurisdiction. But keep in mind the mediator will not resolve your issues for you, rather they serve as an intermediary to help guide you. For mediation to be successful, you both must be willing to negotiate toward an amicable resolution.

Option Three – Collaborative Process

With the collaborative process, you receive more support than in kitchen table talks and mediation. In this option, a divorce coach heads up the team, two collaboratively-trained lawyers will be involved, and child, financial, or other specialists can be brought in as needed. However, this process is customized to each situation and you both remain in control of the decision-making process. Plus, it’s still more efficient and less costly than litigating your divorce.

Collaboration can be very effective when special needs children (e.g., those on the autism spectrum or who have ADHD) are involved because it affords extra additional professional expertise and guidance in drafting co-parenting plans. It can also be effective in situations where there are closely-held businesses between the parties or there’s a history of power imbalance and/or domestic violence. 

Option Four – Court Litigation

If the three options above aren’t workable, then your divorce must go through the court. You and your soon-to-be-ex will both need a lawyer and in general, the divorce process involves:

  • The divorce petition being filed
  • Hearing on an interim agreement regarding spousal support, custody, and visitation of children
  • Mediation may be required by the court
  • Evidence will be gathered by both sides to prove their case 
  • Settlement offers will be presented
  • If no settlement is reached you will go to trial

In this option, not only will you have the most expense and least amount of control, but you will also spend the most time and have the least amount of privacy. Not to mention it’s a more confrontational experience that can strain your relationship even further; a concern if you need to co-parent.

Paths to Divorce

For more information, check out the new book, Divorce Like A Pro: A Better Way To Break Up by Debra Whitson, founder of Mediated Online Solutions, here.

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