Choosing How to Divorce

By: Adrienne Rothstein Grace
Last Update: October 31, 2016

Finding yourself in the challenging position of planning your divorce will force you to make many choices with far-reaching consequences. The value of making the right decision cannot be overstated. The same goes with one of the first decisions you'll need to make – “how” do you want to proceed with your divorce?

Often, when clients find themselves at the crossroads of determining what process they will use to navigate their divorce, the fear of the unknown paralyzes them into making decisions that, in the end, were not the best decisions. Let’s explore the options available and how selecting one over the other can have far reaching positive (or negative) consequences on their divorce, relationship, and family.

Mediation – Any matter in which the parties are willing to work together with one expert.  All documents prepared for the mediation, and all matters discussed in the mediation, are confidential. The only public document is the final judgment

  • Neutral person (mediator) helps you negotiate; may be an attorney, a mental health professional or other trained individual
  • Mediator has no power to decide the case, but will guide you to create your own agreement
  • Flexible
  • No obligation to hire a lawyer or other adviser, although highly advised to review final documents with an attorney
  • Efficient – less time consuming than litigation
  • Inexpensive – compared to litigation
  • Empowering – You and your spouse decide what’s best for you and your family.

Collaboration – Cases where the couple wants to work together to reach a resolution out of court, but feel they need their own attorney to help them do so. All documents prepared for the collaborative negotiations, as well as all matters discussed in the sessions, are confidential. Only the final judgment is a public document.

  • Spouses are represented by specially-trained collaborative attorneys
  • Spouses and attorneys sign a “no court” agreement (attorneys must withdraw if case goes to court)
  • Spouses and attorneys negotiate together in “four-way” meetings
  • Attorneys may recommend involving collaborative professionals, such as a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst to illuminate the financial issues, and/or a marriage and family therapist, to act as coach for the divorcing couple
  • Flexible
  • More efficient than litigation
  • Less expensive than litigation

Litigation – Cases where the parties cannot work together or where there is a power imbalance or history of abuse. Generally all pleadings are public records. This is the least private and most expensive of the processes, and often involves the highest level of conflict.

  • Schedule is dependent on the courts
  • Spouses are represented by their individually hired attorneys
  • Usually takes more time due to the process of negotiation controlled by the attorneys
  • Formal process with little flexibility
  • Most expensive option

One of the most important decisions made in divorce is choosing the process that works best for the divorcing couple, and allows them to move forward to achieve the best outcomes for themselves and their children.

Securities offered through Cadaret, Grant & Co. Inc. Member FINRA/SIPC. Davis Financial and Cadaret, Grant are separate entities.


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