There are several other ways you can go through the divorce process without going through Litigation. There is Mediation, Collaborative Law, and processing the paperwork individually, without an attorney.
Mediation is when the husband and wife reach an agreement for the divorce settlement without going to court. It is recommended that they have a family law attorney who will work with them on consultation purposes while going through the divorce, or they may have an attorney present the entire time while mediators work through the process. There are all different types of mediators with all different backgrounds such as financial, psychology and legal.
You should do your due diligence and check the prerequisites, education or certifications of a mediator in the state you reside in. Some states do have specific requirements to be a mediator, while other states do not. They can operate solely on their skillset or experience of mediation. It is important to interview potential mediators and make sure both parties feel comfortable using them.
Mediators bring in advisors as needed to answer questions that each party has regarding financial, business, psychologists or therapists (often when children are involved), forensic accountants and other items that may come up during discussions.
There is no time limit when using mediation. If both parties agree with the settlement, the divorce process can happen quickly. However, if both parties are not in agreement, the process will take much longer, and in some instances, it can take years to reach an agreement through mediation.
This process only works if both parties are willing to use the mediator. If the parties do not feel they are being successful with mediation, the mediator will direct them to attorneys to assist them further with their divorce through litigation.
In most states you can use collaborative law (or collaborative practice). Both parties sign an agreement that they do not want to litigate and work directly with their collaborative law attorneys.
This is another form of mediation, but with each party having their own attorney. The collaborative attorneys utilize outside support for assistance such as forensic accountants, therapist, financial advisors, and so on.
However, if both parties can’t reach an agreement, they will need to go to court and hire new attorneys. Since attorneys from collaborative law were specifically hired to help settle out of court, they will not be able to follow over.
Family Law Clinics for DIY Filing
Depending on the state and county that you live in, the courts have family law clinics that you can attend, and they will help you file for divorce on your own without having to hire an attorney. Some people use the free clinics and work with an attorney with specific issues that they can not resolve by themselves.
Some counties have court appointed mediators that will assist with child support and other issues, but you need to check and see if the county that you are residing in offers this type of assistance. There are still court and filing fees that both parties will need to take care of when filing for divorce.
The best way to figure out what is right for you is to evaluate the specific ways you can file for divorce and become informed with what is available within your area. And do not forget, you can do consultations with attorneys. Some attorneys offer free consultations, while others charge. Again, do your research find out what is available within your area of residence.
The power behind mediation is to ensure that you are as informed as possible and you have people advising you and supporting you through this process. Make sure to ask questions and get clarification with any information you do not understand.
“The above is being provided for informational purposes only and should not be considered legal advice. Please consult with a legal professional regarding your specific situation.”