Sometimes divorce is the only option to end a troubled marriage. The mention of divorce, however, can usher in different emotions, like worry, tension, fear, guilt or feeling of being a failure to your spouse.
Besides being a complicated legal process, divorce can also be a demoralizing, painful and emotionally-draining experience. Not to forget, of course, a costly court proceedings that can be witnessed by anyone, which can drag on for many months and wherein all final and legally binding decisions will be made by the family court judge presiding over the case; such is the case of a court-litigated divorce.
While it requires only one party to get a divorce case going, the consent of both divorcing spouses are required when divorce-related issues enter into the picture. These issues include child custody, visitation rights, child support, alimony or spousal support, and division of property, assets and debts. The length of a divorce case is directly affected by how fast or how long before spouses reach an agreement regarding these issues; thus, the longer the spouses refuse to come to terms, the longer (and the more expensive) their divorce case will.
This is the reason why some divorce cases end up in court, left for the judge to settle – simply because the spouses cannot reach an agreement. These court-litigated divorce cases are called “Contested Divorce.”
A contested divorce is adversarial in nature. Spouses, through their respective lawyers, try to accuse and discredit one another in an attempt to win the judge’s favor. But while this type of divorce can be extremely frustrating and upsetting to both spouses, it is nothing more than a source of entertainment to some court spectators who find amusement in all the family secrets and accusations they hear.
Many divorcing couples nowadays refuse to turn their divorce case into a circus – to the amusement of many. Thus, they find ways to end their marital union privately, fast and with fewer disagreements. Fortunately, there are alternative ways to divorce, ways that are not only private, fast, and much less costly, but also procedures that allow the spouses themselves to make the decisions on all related issues. These alternative dispute resolutions include:
- Uncontested Divorce. This procedure allows the spouses to reach an agreement without having the need to go to trial; this procedure is also quicker and cheaper compared to contested divorce. Uncontested divorce is a private process. Though it does not mean agreeing outrightly about the issues related to divorce, it gives the spouses room to negotiate without the air of hostility.
- Mediated Divorce or Divorce Mediation. This is also a private (out-of-court legal procedure), quicker and cheaper divorce procedure (compared to contested divorce) that allows spouses to settle all divorce-related issues by themselves. A mediator, who is a neutral third party, sits with the spouses to help them reach an agreement. This mediator helps make sure that the spouses are able to talk and argue openly in a way which will not destroy the amicable process which they chose in ending their marriage. Each spouse may or may not be represented by an attorney, who can help each spouse to understand the legal matters related to divorce and know if the agreement arrived at is reasonable and worth signing.
- Collaborative Divorce. In this type of divorce process, both spouses have their respective lawyers who will work cooperatively with them in settling the divorce case. For fair negotiations, each spouse is required to disclose all important information that will affect the divorce and all related issues. In the event that this process does not settle the divorce case, each spouse will have to hire new attorneys who will have to take the case to trial.
The Raleigh divorce attorneys understand just how important it will be for you to have a comprehensive legal strategy to fall back on during the process of your divorce; this, will help you understand the possible implications of all your choices.