While you and your spouse may have decided to end your marriage, you might be doing so on amicable or civil terms. If you two have children, you may want to avoid litigating your divorce at all costs. Yet, you may have no clue if keeping it out of court is possible. Certain parts of divorce proceedings do require a court hearing. But you can work out most aspects of your divorce on your own, with a mediator or with the help of your attorneys.
So long as you and your spouse are going through an uncontested divorce, you can conduct proceedings outside of the courtroom. Yet, drafting your marital settlement agreement can be challenging and time-consuming. And even if you want to avoid court, there may be issues – such as maintenance, property division or your parenting plan – that you have minor disagreements about. To ease proceedings or to reach consensus, you have the option to pursue mediation or a collaborative divorce.
During mediation, you and you your spouse will work out the terms of your divorce with the help of a third party. This person, the mediator, cannot give you any legal advice. But they can guide you two toward the resolution of any disagreements you have. Collaborative divorce brings together you and your spouse with your attorneys. Together, you will work to solve any issues that could prevent your divorce from finalizing. In both cases, you and your spouse will remain in the driver’s seat of your divorce. By retaining control, you can create a decree that reflects your unique circumstances.
Where court comes in
For your divorce to become official, you will need to present your marital settlement agreement to a judge. They will review its terms to ensure that they are fair and voluntary. So long as they are, the judge will likely sign your agreement.
Aside from this final step, your divorce can avoid court so long as you and your spouse agree on – or can work out – its terms. An attorney with family law experience can help you understand which option for doing so best suits your situation.