Divorce ends a legal relationship. Many people do not understand there are different avenues toward divorce — each with a different level of conflict.
By any measure, the method of divorce that involves the least conflict is the one most likely to allow former spouses to get on with life with a minimum of bitterness and financial expense. It is often the conflict level between estranged spouses that decides how a divorce is managed and how long it takes.
There are several paths toward divorce, including the following:
Kitchen table agreements: If you and your spouse have relatively simple assets and are in agreement on issues of divorce, you might be able to work out an agreement through private discussion. Issues that require agreement include child support, child custody, spousal maintenance and division of property. After you work out the agreement, you both still need to consult with a reputable family law attorney to ensure the agreement is in your best interests.
Mediation: Forms of alternative dispute resolution work well in a family law setting. Mediation allows a couple to informally discuss issues of divorce with a trained mediator in a low conflict setting. Mediators do not side with either party nor do they push for agreement but instead facilitate discussion to reach private, satisfying agreements.
Collaborative law: Using attorneys trained to work cooperatively, a couple makes use of the resources of the legal system outside the courtroom. Working under an agreement of confidentiality, the collaborative method reduces the polarity and expense of litigated divorce while creating satisfying divorce agreements especially suitable for couples with children.
Litigated divorce: For couples unable to reach agreements through negotiation between attorneys or mediation, the court makes decisions based on evidence. Although litigated divorce is costly and may take years, it is sometimes the only route available to an individual with a high-conflict partner.
Understanding your options at the outset is important. When you have questions, speak with the Best of Long Island winner divorce lawyers at Simonetti & Associates.