When facing a divorce, something to consider is that any time the Court gets involved in your life, decision-making power is removed from your hands. More often than not, once the Court is involved in people’s lives, emotions escalate very quickly. While sometimes Court intervention is necessary, out-of-court resolutions, otherwise known as alternative dispute resolution (ADR), empower families to solve their own problems and lead to more durable resolutions. ADR typically saves time, money, and emotional stress, compared to a contentious court battle. Here are some common types of ADR:
Mediation: In mediation, a neutral third party, the mediator, facilitates communication between the divorcing spouses to help them reach agreements on various issues such as child custody, property division, and support. The mediator doesn't make decisions but instead assists in finding common ground and creative compromises.
Collaborative Divorce: Collaborative divorce involves each spouse and their respective attorneys signing an agreement to work cooperatively and transparently to resolve issues outside of court. The process typically involves joint meetings and negotiations to reach a settlement that meets the needs of both parties.
Arbitration: In arbitration, a neutral third party, the arbitrator, acts as a private judge who listens to the evidence and arguments presented by both parties. The arbitrator then makes a binding decision, similar to a court judgment. This method can be less formal and expensive than litigation, but the decision is final and enforceable in court.
Negotiation: Negotiating directly with your spouse, especially with the assistance of attorneys, can be an excellent means out-of-court resolution. This approach works best when the attorneys have an amicable working relationship and can work together to find mutually acceptable solutions.
It's important to note that not all divorces are suitable for out-of-court resolutions, especially if there are issues of domestic violence, abuse, or significant power imbalances between the parties. In such cases, seeking the involvement of the court to ensure the safety and well-being of all involved parties may be necessary.
Before choosing an out-of-court resolution method, it's essential to consult with an experienced family law attorney to understand which approach best suits your specific situation and to ensure that your rights and interests are protected throughout the process.