Does every divorce have to end in a dramatic courtroom showdown pitting each spouse against one another? Not necessarily. Some couples in the Westchester and White Plains area may wish to end their marriage in a more amicable and cooperative manner. Two options these couples may be interested in are divorce mediation and collaborative divorce.
What is divorce mediation?
Divorce mediation is a means of reaching a settlement on your divorce legal issues out-of-court. Through mediation, each spouse will discuss their wishes for their divorce with each other and with the mediator. The mediator is a neutral third-party. Mediators do not issue binding decisions, but instead facilitate discussions between the spouses so they can settle issues such as child custody, property division and spousal support.
Discussions made in the mediation process are generally confidential, and both sides can still be represented by an attorney who can help explain their rights and options and advocate for their client. Mediation can end in a settlement, but if a settlement cannot be reached, going to court is still an option.
What is collaborative divorce?
Like mediation, in a collaborative divorce couples aim to settle their divorce legal issues out of court. In a collaborative divorce, each spouse will be represented by an attorney, and the spouses and attorneys will agree in writing to reach a settlement.
If a settlement is not reached, the attorneys must bow out of the case and the spouses must find a new attorney to represent them in court. This gives all parties a financial incentive to reach a settlement. Third parties, such as financial experts and therapists can be involved in the collaborative divorce process as well.
Seeking an amicable split
Mediation and collaborative divorce have many benefits. Not only do they set the stage for productive communication post-divorce — something that is essential if a couple has children — but each side may be more satisfied with the outcome of their divorce, as they had more of a say in it rather than leaving everything up to a judge. Those in New York who are interested in learning more about these divorce alternatives may want to seek legal advice for further information.