Kevin Qualls Family Law
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What are some alternatives to litigation in a divorce?

Going through a divorce can be a stressful situation. It is understandably a very emotional time, combined with the fact that each spouse is undergoing the transition from living together as a couple to establishing individual households. They must make important decisions regarding property division, spousal support and in some cases child custody and child support. It is easy to see why divorce can be a difficult chapter in anyone's life.

In addition to the emotional upheaval that comes with divorce, there are financial considerations to keep in mind too. California couples going through a divorce may wonder if there are any alternatives to traditional litigation that may be easier on their pocketbooks. Two alternatives that may work out for some couples seeking to settle a divorce out of court are mediation and collaborative divorce.

In mediation, the mediator serves as a neutral third party who works with both spouses as they negotiate a divorce settlement. Mediation does require a certain amount of cooperation on the part of each spouse. In addition, each spouse needs to be open and honest for mediation to be effective. It is important to remember that even if they choose mediation, each spouse can still consult with his or her own attorney. However, depending on the situation, mediation can be a less costly alternative to litigation.

Another option to consider is collaborative divorce. In a collaborative divorce, each party retains his or her own legal counsel. However, the couple agrees in a collaborative divorce to work together to resolve their divorce issues and reach a settlement. Other neutral professionals may also be consulted in a collaborative divorce, such as financial professionals and divorce coaches.

All of this being said, there are some situations in which litigation may be preferred to mediation or collaborative law. For example, if one spouse is the victim of domestic abuse or if there are other safety issues, such as drug addiction, it may be better to go to court. In the end, California couples seeking a divorce should understand that they have options. By learning more about the benefits and drawbacks to each option, couples can determine the best course of action for them as they go through the divorce process.

Source: ABC 10, "Getting divorced? How to end your marriage without sacrificing too much money," Gabrielle Karol, Feb. 9, 2016

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