|Before a divorce is granted, five basic issues typically must be resolved. Child custody, visitation and parenting time; property and debt division; child support; and alimony/maintenance.
If the spouses can reach agreement on these issues, then the divorce is uncontested. If however, the spouses cannot agree, the divorce is contested. The spouses may go to trial to resolve the issues. This usually means that a family court judge will make the final decisions. Alternatives to going to court include mediation, arbitration, and collaborative divorce. Some courts may even order the spouses to attempt to resolve their differences through alternative dispute resolution.
Mediation is an alternative to litigation that can be less expensive and less stressful for divorcing couples and their children. In the mediation process, the couple works with a trained mediator to reach agreement on contested issues.
Arbitration is more like court than mediation, but it can still be quicker and less expensive than court. Instead of using a judge to decide the outcome, the parties agree to use an arbitrator. Each spouse will have a separate attorney who will represent each spouse’s interests.
Collaborative Divorce is a relatively new divorce process that requires an up-front commitment to resolving disputes by negotiation, compromise and agreement. Click here to learn more about collaborative divorce.