Divorce can be overwhelming. It can devastate families emotionally and financially.
Divorce issues can take years to resolve. Divorce settlements can be difficult to enforce.
But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Divorce isn’t just something that happens to you – it’s something you can control. Taking ownership of your divorce is the first step toward creating the future you want for yourself and your children.

You can take ownership of your divorce by understanding your options and picking the one that best suits your needs.

Adversarial Divorce

Adversarial divorce – also known as traditional or litigation divorce and arbitration – is the kind that most people are familiar with – and most people dread.

In adversarial divorce, the parties are normally represented by lawyers, who fight for their clients like gladiators in an arena. All that matters is “winning” – getting custody of the children, keeping more of the property, getting more alimony or child support (or paying less).

It’s expensive, it’s stressful, and it’s time-consuming.

Whatever anger and pain the parties felt at the beginning of the adversarial divorce process, at the end they usually feel much worse. When it’s over, both sides feel like they’ve been through a war – because they have.

And their children are often casualties in that war. They suffer when they’re used like emotional ammunition – cannonballs lobbed back and forth across the battlefield that once was a family.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Non-adversarial Divorce

Non-adversarial divorce whether mediation or collaboration, is a way to divorce that recognizes conflicts exist but focuses on solving problems rather than fighting about them. Instead of blaming each other for what happened in the past, the spouses work together to make a better future.

In an non-adversarial divorce, the divorcing couples design a solution that they can live with – rather than getting stuck with one a judge imposes.

A non-adversarial divorce is less like a battle and more like a business meeting. People may still get emotional – but they usually don’t feel beaten up when it’s over.

Non-adversarial divorces are generally quicker and less expensive than adversarial ones, allowing the spouses to get on with their lives sooner and to preserve their assets for more important things than paying legal fees.

And since the divorcing couples create their own solutions, they’re more likely to live up to their obligations and abide by the terms after the divorce is final.

Mediation

Mediation is a process of negotiation guided and facilitated by a neutral third party, called a mediator. The mediator works with both divorcing spouses even handedly, and the spouses are not represented by lawyers in the mediation.

A mediator isn’t a judge or an arbitrator and won’t impose a solution or push the spouses in one direction or another. The role of the mediator is to help the couple resolve their own issues by providing information, asking questions that make the spouses focus on core issues, and keeping things organized and on track.

Divorce mediation isn’t marriage counseling. It won’t “fix” a broken marriage and it’s not intended to prevent divorce. Its purpose is to resolve legal, financial, and parenting issues in a way that each spouse feels is fair and workable.
For more about divorce mediation, please click here.

Collaborative Divorce

Collaborative Divorce gives each spouse a lawyer but keeps them out of court. It can be a good choice for people who feel they need a backup – someone strong and confident who can help them get through a difficult process – and perhaps deal with a difficult partner.

The spouses and their lawyers pledge not to permit court interference, to honestly exchange information, and to pursue a solution that takes into account the highest priorities of both spouses and their children.

The process encourages couples to think creatively about the kind of future they want – rather than accepting a “one size fits all” solution a court may impose. The spouses often include other professionals like child specialists, divorce coaches, and financial consultants.

For more about collaborative practice, please click here.

It’s up to you

It may or may not have been your choice to end your relationship. But how you end it is up to you.

Divorce can make you feel lost, frightened, powerless, and victimized.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.