Alternative Dispute Resolution: A Complex Term For A Potentially Simpler Divorce Solution
When conflict within a marriage reaches a point where divorce seems like the only option for one or both spouses, the concept of negotiating settlement terms seems counterintuitive. If you could not agree on relatively minor issues, how can you agree to major issues — particularly child custody and support? Yet, the majority of U.S. divorces are settled out of court using a form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) to reach agreement while saving time and money by avoiding a full trial. Perhaps the most common ADR options are divorce mediation and collaborative divorce. Your divorce attorney can help you find the option that makes the most sense for your unique circumstances.
Divorce mediation puts a neutral third party at the helm of negotiations
When you voluntarily choose divorce mediation, you can negotiate all settlement issues with the help of an impartial mediator who steps in to identify solutions to areas of conflict. Once you reach agreement, the mediator prepares a written document for review by both parties before it is submitted to the court. As long as the agreements are properly drafted and signed by all parties, the solutions reached are legal and binding.
Collaborative divorce can deliver results for couples committed to the process
Collaborative divorce is a legal process that permits divorcing couples to engage therapists, financial professionals and other professionals needed to work through their specific issues. The process is highly-structured, involving specific rules, such as:
- The parties go through a series of formal negotiations that require precise documentation and review.
- Both parties must retain attorneys who are certified in collaborative law.
- The parties must resolve all issues, leaving nothing for the courts to decide.
- Couples who fail to resolve all issues must start over using a different process and different attorneys.
When both parties have the dedication to undergo this process, they can obtain a settlement that meets their precise needs. However, collaborative divorce is not right for everyone. A divorce lawyer with extensive experience in alternative dispute resolution carefully assesses your circumstances and abilities before recommending this option.