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Libertyville Divorce Blog

Openness and honesty are needed in a collaborative divorce

If you want to use a collaborative divorce for any reason -- the freedom to make decisions, the way that it can speed up the process, the options you have to save money, etc -- you need to remember that the whole thing revolves around honesty. You and your spouse must be open and honest every step of the way.

For instance, a collaborative divorce allows you to talk about how you want to divide assets. That's helpful and keeps a judge from doing it for you. But that also means you both have to be totally honest about what assets you own. You can't intentionally overlook items or try to hide things.

Mediation—seeing divorce from a neutral point of view

Many people who plan to divorce think no further than litigation, even though they dislike the idea of a public process in which a judge holds the keys to their future.

Another option is mediation: a process where a neutral point of view allows the couple room to create a workable settlement agreement and retain control of their own divorce.

Financial issues that can lead to a divorce

Money is one of the leading causes of divorce. When couples run into financial issues, it can end the marriage.

Sometimes, this feels like it is completely out of their hands. Maybe there is a recession and the only spouse who is working loses their job. The other spouse stopped working to take care of the children. The stress of trying to raise kids on a limited or nonexistent income is just too much.

Is there a financial benefit to divorce mediation?

Maybe the main benefit that drew you to the idea of divorce mediation was the idea of control. You worried about going in front of a judge and letting them decide how to divide your assets or your time with the children. This is your life. You want to make those decisions on your own.

But, as you and your spouse started looking into it to prepare for your divorce, you started wondering about other benefits. Could mediation actually save you money?

Making your divorce go peacefully

You want to get a divorce, but you don't want the drama. You're not looking to blame your ex or spend a long time in court fighting over the details. Maybe you even want to be friends after the marriage is over. Maybe you have children and you're trying to insulate them from a difficult experience. Regardless, you're looking for a peaceful divorce.

It is possible. If you make it a goal up front, you can work to achieve it. Here are a few things you should do:

  • Respect your spouse at all turns. This isn't about winning or making sure that you look good. It's not about getting even or winning an argument. Respect them and ask for the same in return.
  • Consider all of your options. For instance, you may find that using mediation is naturally more peaceful than going to court.
  • Be open and honest. One of the main keys to this type of divorce is communication. Try to work with your spouse so that you both feel like you're working toward the same goal.
  • Talk with them about your vision for the divorce. You may find that you have a lot of common ground regarding what you want. One of the most common ways that couples do this is by shaking hands and agreeing that they both just want to do what is best for the children whenever they can -- but you can still do it even if you do not have kids.

Should you use a QDRO when getting divorced?

The assets that you own when you get divorced may feel easy to divide, especially if you're using mediation to reduce conflict and you have agreed to split your assets 50/50. If you have $100,000 in the bank, you both take home $50,000 and open your own accounts. If you sell the home and make another $200,000, that's $100,000 for each of you. You feel like you can run quickly down the list of assets and get this done.

But what about assets that you may not be using yet, but that you still own? For instance, what about your spouse's pension plan?

For a confidential divorce, choose mediation

Are you interested in a confidential divorce? Perhaps you are a politician or a public figure. Maybe you're just wary about how much information is on the internet these days. Regardless, you want your divorce to be kept secret.

If so, you may want to use mediation, rather than a traditional divorce in court. The mediator helps you and your spouse come to agreements about how you want to split up. You keep the power to make those choices on your own. A judge does not have to step in, so there isn't a judge who knows your most intimate details. On top of that:

  • You do not have a court reporter in the room keeping records of everything that everyone says during the case.
  • The mediator is the only outside party that you have to talk to.
  • If the mediator takes notes, those notes will get destroyed when the process is over. They do not become part of the public record.
  • You do not have to go through a public court case that can be watched by numerous people.
  • The news does not run reports based on these cases, so the details don't make it to the public.

5 tips to help you prepare for divorce mediation

A form of alternative dispute resolution called mediation has gained in popularity over the past several years among couples looking for a divorce solution better than litigation.

If you believe mediation is the best format for your divorce, here are five tips to help you prepare:

Don't assume life will change after marriage

People often talk about marriage being life-changing, and there certainly are ways your life will change after you tie the knot. But you don't want to assume that life will change in specific ways, or it can lead to a quick divorce.

Relationship experts point out that many fast divorces -- after just a year or less of marriage -- may happen for this reason. One person thinks things will be different with their partner, and they only agree to the marriage on those grounds. When nothing changes, they opt for a divorce.

A collaborative divorce gives you more control

When you and your spouse feel like you can work together during your divorce, you may decide to go the route of a collaborative divorce. Cooperation is necessary, but this keeps your divorce out of the court system.

One of the big advantages of working together like this is that you get more control. A traditional, court-based divorce means you present the case to the judge, he or she considers it and then you get a court order that you have to follow. You really don't have much control over what that order says.

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