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How to keep your divorce out of the courtroom

When you think of divorce, what picture comes to mind? Perhaps it is the stereotypical emotional and aggressive battle in the courtroom. This thought alone can prevent you from wanting to go through with ending your marriage.

The good news is that you can keep your divorce out of the courtroom until the end when you need the judge to approve your agreement. Here is how to have a faster, cheaper, less contentious divorce.

Collaborative law

While you may associate attorneys with litigation, you can still have legal representation in an amicable divorce. Collaboration is the process in which you and your spouse each have your own lawyer and all meet together to negotiate the terms of your split. It provides a balance between having an advocate by your side to ensure your rights and inviting cooperation instead of fighting. 

Mediation

Mediation is a step further in that instead of lawyers being present, there is a neutral facilitator who helps you two communicate and compromise. The mediator may also have a legal profession, but in this role, he or she does not force cooperation, choose a side or make judgments. The person is simply there to guide you two through the process. In the end, you may have an attorney review the agreement before submitting it to the judge.

Benefits of alternative approaches

Both collaboration and mediation improve the outcome of your divorce in the following ways:

  • Proceedings end sooner because you do not have to wait for multiple court dates and delays.
  • You save money on court and attorney fees by spending less time in the judicial system.
  • You choose the terms, making it likelier you both will comply with them.
  • There will be less tension and stress, which will make the situation less hard on your children as well.

Despite how you feel about your soon-to-be ex, your divorce does not have to be an ugly affair. If you can both agree to try, collaboration or mediation can be the answer.

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