All too many families have been stretched to the breaking point, both emotionally and financially, as result of the ongoing pandemic. While the number of couples seeking a divorce has increased, the court’s ability to move divorce and family law cases through the legal system has decreased. As a result, many couples who have chosen to pursue the traditional court route for getting divorce find themselves stuck in limbo and extremely frustrated wondering when they will ever have closure. The good news – there are options for staying out of court, saving money and getting your divorce done! Here are three alternatives that you and your spouse might consider.
- The Back of the Napkin. The simplest, quickest and least costly way to getting divorced is for you and your spouse to sit down and hammer out an agreement. An agreement scribbled on a piece of paper, or the back of a napkin, would not be enforceable in court. However, if the two of you can reach an agreement on all of the issues by talking it out, a lawyer can draft a legally enforceable agreement for you both to sign, and then prepare the paperwork necessary for an uncontested divorce, without either of you having to appear in court.
- Collaborative Divorce. This is a relatively new way for people to get divorced. The term “collaborative divorce” may sound contradictory. It doesn’t mean that you and your spouse need to be best buddies to get divorced using this process. You just need to agree that you want a peaceful divorce, to stay out of court, and to follow the collaborative process . Collaborative divorce is a process in which both parties and their respective attorneys contractually agree to settle the issues in the divorce without getting the court involved. The two of you and your respective lawyers meet together in a series of meetings to work through and come to an agreement on all of the issues that need to be settled for you to get divorced. It is important to note that to pursue a collaborative divorce, both parties must hire a collaboratively trained lawyer. Click here to find a professional in the CNY area. This approach to divorce focuses on each spouse’s needs and wants and finding creative, mutually agreeable solutions to settle the divorce. If you choose the collaborative process you are not at the mercy of the court’s schedule or the decisions of a judge. Instead of letting a judge decide your what happens in your case, including the division of your property and debt, and the fate of your children, in a collaborative divorce you control the outcome and how long it takes to get there.
- Divorce Mediation. Mediation, like collaborative divorce, is a cooperative process in which the two of you work together, with the assistance of a neutral mediator, to reach a resolution and an final agreement. One key difference between mediation and collaborative divorce is that in divorce mediation, the two parties usually do not bring lawyers to the meetings with the mediator. However, you will each need legal advice and knowledge of what the court would decide in your situation. The mediator must remain neutral and cannot give either of you that advice. Therefore, if you chose mediation, each of you will be advised by the mediator to separately consult a lawyer to give you legal advice, and advice about what might happen in court. It is a good idea for you to get legal advice (1) prior to negotiating your divorce agreement, and (2) after the agreement has been reached, but before you sign your agreement.
Any of these three options for getting divorced will keep you out of the court system and get you divorced more quickly. As an added bonus, your divorce will be private, no one but you and your attorneys will know your business. Best of all, your divorce will be peaceful and without the fighting that often goes along with divorce court.
With all three options, both spouses must agree to stay out of court. Both spouses must also agree on process they will follow. In other words, if your spouse will not agree to follow one of these paths, you will have no choice but to go through the court system to get divorced.
I am trained and experience in all of these and can get your divorce done without going to court. Give me a call to discuss your options. (315) 216-0176.