Once you know that a divorce is imminent, you need to make some difficult decisions. At first, these will be things like who will move out of the marital home and what will happen with the children. Another choice that you will have to make is what type of divorce will work best for you.
Contrary to popular belief, there are alternatives to divorces that move through contentious trials in front of judges. Which option is right for you depends on the factors in your divorce, including whether you and your ex can work together or not.
Overview of the types of divorce
There are four ways that a divorce can move forward. Typically, people will try to work things out in one of the other three ways so that they don't have to go through litigation.
- Litigation: This option often involves going to court and letting the judge decide the terms of the divorce settlement.
- Mediation: You and your ex work with a mediator to negotiate the terms of the settlement. The mediator is a neutral third party who won't make decisions about the divorce but will help you to keep the negotiations on track.
- Collaborative: You and your ex each hire an attorney who will help you work through the negotiations that will resolve the divorce settlement without going to court.
- Arbitration: The divorce case is presented to an arbitrator who will decide on specific points of the divorce. Much like litigation, this takes the decisions out of your hands, but this option is often less expensive and faster than a litigated divorce.
Choosing the type for your divorce
Litigation is usually the most expensive and time consuming of the options. You have to prepare for the hearing in court and wait for a date to actually go to court. These can take time and effort. Typically, mediation and collaborative divorces are less expensive and more likely to end faster. For this reason, most people opt for one.
If you have children, you will likely find that mediation or collaborative divorce will give you more control over what happens with the child custody aspect of the split. The same is true for property division and other aspects of divorce.
A litigated divorce is usually an appropriate option for people who can't come to an agreement with the other options. This is likely going to be used for cases involving domestic abuse and similar situations.