People are messy and so are their relationships, but divorce does not have to be. There are four main types of divorce and each one can have pros and cons you should consider before choosing a route to take. Most of the time, the unique factors of your family, finances and reasons for splitting will have the biggest impact on which method is the best to use.
Litigation is a judicial separation meaning that your case will be handled by experienced attorneys and may end up in court for a judge to rule on. You should consult with a lawyer as soon as possible to see what complications will need to be brought to the court and which ones can be worked out between both of you and your legal teams. If the reason for your divorce includes violence, substance abuse, or hidden assets, then litigation will be your best way to reach a favorable conclusion.
In mediation you and your spouse will work with a neutral party, who may or may not be an attorney, to work out the details of a divorce. This is a good idea if you are having an amicable split and want to make sure that it stays that way through all the details involved such as deciding on custody. Law firms such can offer mediation services as well as give you individual legal advice in a divorce.
In a collaborative divorce, you and your partner each hire a lawyer and agree to work together for an agreement without litigation. This agreement is signed by both of you and by your legal teams, includes having to start over with new lawyers if litigation is threatened, and may include working with a financial planner. It is best for amicable divorces with little to no assets and no child custody needs.
A DIY divorce can seem like the easiest and cheapest option for many couples, but it usually is not. When you have joint assets, children or need alimony agreements, you will usually need the help of a mediator or divorce lawyer to iron out all the details. If you decide to go this route, it is a good idea to have a private attorney look over any paperwork before you sign it.
Divorce is messy and painful, and the methods that you use to accomplish it can either help clean it up or make it worse. Most cases which do not involve violence, substance abuse or hidden assets can be resolved without lengthy court processes, but a judge will likely have to sign any agreements.