Couples who seek alternative divorce solutions choose to do so to avoid the costly and hostile process of divorce litigation. When two opposing attorneys set out to hash out an agreement, they approach it without concern for the time it takes to settle nor the costs of arriving at that conclusion. A couple may begin the process quite civilly only to discover that attorney embellishments created with the best interest of the client tend to throw oil on the fire, heating up emotions and prolonging the battle. There are rarely any winners in this scenario; it is expensive for the couple and traumatic for the children.
Types of Alternative Divorce
In New York State, there are four different types of divorces: contested, uncontested, collaborative and mediation. Only in the last decade has New York begun to allow no-fault divorces. A common path for at fault divorces prior to the update in 2010 was to indicate that sexual relations had terminated for a year prior to filing. Requiring one party to be at fault set the couple up for unnecessary battles.
Filing divorce paperwork in New York is overly complicated, thus hiring a professional to assist you is recommended. The consequences of a poorly executed agreement can last for years and result in financial difficulty, at the very minimum. If you have been married for less than a year, the marriage can be annulled rather simply if there are no children involved. Outside of that scenario, the do-it-yourself option is risky for most couples.
The contested divorce tends to be the most drawn out and costly, as both parties disagree about the terms and their cases often go before a judge.
Divorce law varies from state to state; however, in every state there is a solution available through divorce mediation. Couples often stay together for fear of financial devastation, most not realizing there are more affordable solutions open to them; mediation is just such a solution. Through mediation, both parties can express their concerns and work through them with a divorce mediator who will educate them about their options. The mediator is a neutral party, educated in divorce law.
The mediation process progresses at the couple’s own pace; when in agreement, it can go quickly. If one party refuses to negotiate, the mediator may recommend the couple seek individual attorneys to represent them. The number of sessions required to draft an agreement will depend on how many issues the couple need to work through. Following the execution of a draft both parties can agree upon, each will have his or her own attorney review the agreement prior to signing. Mediation is most successful when the mediator is experienced and highly versed in local laws.
Collaborative divorce is an alternative divorce solution that includes attorneys for both parties who agree to work out their differences outside of the courtroom. The goal of the collaborative lawyer is to educate the client about negotiating the divorce terms. Often, third parties will assist with different aspects of the divorce such as finances, custody, etc. If there is a concern about hidden assets or businesses which have not been valued, an appraiser or auditor may be consulted to provide a valuation.
There are numerous benefits to choosing alternative divorce solutions, most notably the couple can resolve their differences amicably and save many thousands of dollars. For mediation or collaborative approaches to be successful, it is essential that both parties are willing to cooperate. If that is doable for you, the outcome is much more pleasant than litigation. By reducing everyone’s stress level, fighting is minimized and a custodial relationship of children is more civil and beneficial to the kids. And starting over with more money in your pocket and less stress is always a healthier option.