Alternatives to Litigation

Divorce Mediation

What is it?
Mediation offers a fair process where you and your spouse can discuss and decide for yourselves, with professional help of a mediator, arrangements for your children, financial support and the division of your property.

When does it work?
Mediation will work only if you and your spouse are willing to make a good-faith effort to reach an agreement. There is no legal obligation to agree; any commitment to the process and its results comes voluntarily from the people involved.

Who are the professionals involved?
You and your spouse jointly hire a neutral, trained, and certified mediator to act as a facilitator of solutions. It is important to remember that this mediator is not the attorney for either of you, and therefore is unable to give you legal advice.

How long is the process?
During a series of meetings, the mediator will help you sand your spouse work out a plan that covers your children’s living arrangements, the financial needs of the family and all other issues that need a solution. Once you and your spouse have reach an agreement, the mediator will draft an agreement that is submitted to the court. After the court reviews the agreement, it may be approved and thereafter becomes a legally binding legal document, and finalizes the divorce.

What are the benefits?
One of the great aspects to mediation is that it allows you to arrive at the resolution based on what you and your spouse think is fair, instead of allowing a judge to decide what is fair.

What are some potential limitations?
Mediation may not be a good fit if communication between you and your spouse has downgraded to the point where neither of you trusts the other to negotiate in a fair/reasonable manner.

Collaborative Divorce

What is it?
Collaborative law is an approach to divorce in which a divorcing couple commits to the process until a resolution is reached, without the threat of litigation.

When does it work?
The collaborative process works best when both parties are willing to commit to the process and want to move forward in an amicable and efficient manner.

Who are the professionals involved?
Each party must be represented by an attorney who is certified in the field of Collaborative Law

How long is the process?
The length of the collaborative process depends on the complexity of the issues and the cooperation of the parties.

What are the benefits?
Each spouse will work with their specially trained Collaborative Lawyer, to pinpoint problems, come up with solutions, and negotiate terms of the separation agreement. When the threat of litigation is removed, both parties are better able to negotiate, and therefore are more likely to emerge from the divorce with a favorable outcome.

What are some potential limitations?
Collaborative Divorce may not be a good fit if communication between you and your spouse has degraded to the point where neither of you trusts the other to negotiate in a fair/reasonable matter.

Negotiated Settlement

What is it?
A negotiated settlement is when you and your spouse use attorneys to negotiate the terms of your divorce without court intervention. Once the terms have been agreed upon, the attorneys will memorialize them in a separation agreement that will be filed with the court for approval.

When does it work?
A negotiated settlement works best when both parties are committed to reaching an agreements without court intervention, but would like guidance and legal advice from attorneys along the way.

Who are the professionals involved?
Typically, each party is represented by their own attorney. In some cases, one party may choose to represent themselves.

How long is the process?
The length of the negotiation process depends on the complexity of the issues, the cooperation of the parties, and how quickly an agreement can be reached.

What are the benefits?
A major benefit to negotiated settlement is that it allows you and your spouse to negotiate through attorneys, therefore removing the contentious element of direct communication that can often affect spouses during the divorce process. In addition, a negotiated settlement allows you and your spouse to arrive at a resolution based on your own decisions, rather than allowing a court to decide what is fair.

What are some of the potential limitations?
A negotiated settlement may not be a good fit it you and your spouse have very different ideas about he division of your assets, custody of your children, and if either of you are not willing to come to an agreement that is fair and responsible for both parties.