Getting a divorce may seem complex but there is more than one way to get a divorce. Many people getting divorced have a different situation compared to another individual. For example, there may be a mutual break up or one party is opposing a divorce. Below are 5 different common divorce methods.
What’s the Difference Between an Uncontested Divorce vs. Contested Divorce?
The two main types of divorce include Uncontested divorce and Contested divorce.
An uncontested divorce occurs when one spouse files an application for divorce and the other spouse does not file an answer. This fundamentally states that on failing to file an answer, the spouse does not agree with the divorce. In an uncontested divorce, the spouses agree on the issues raised from the divorce, in which the court officials will typically process the divorce in ways that do not require the parties to go to court. For an uncontested divorce to be valid, the parties must have resolved all issues such as child custody and access, and child and spousal support through a separation agreement or court order, as well as the divorce, must entail the breakdown of the marriage based on one year separation, after which the judge will grant the divorce.
A contested divorce occurs when the spouses disagree on some or all of the issues within the divorce. Most commonly, these disagreements include child and spousal support, division of the financial gains of the marriage, and child visitation schedules. Within this type of divorce, both parties must set out their positions and views on the issues in dispute. Contested divorces may be settled a number of ways, such as outside of court, through negotiation, or through formal divorce procedures. Uncontested divorces are generally faster and more efficient in terms of less stress and cost; whereas contested divorce is generally longer. However, a contested divorce is more common, specifically among couples who have been married longer, have children, or have a large amount of property to deal with.
What is Collaborative Family Law?
Collaborative Family Law is a form of dispute resolution built on the honesty, integrity, and respect of the couple who are divorcing. This type of dispute resolution requires that the couple work collaboratively together, with their lawyers and perhaps a third party, in order to reach a sufficient resolution regarding the breakdown of their marriage. The parties are also required to agree that they will not go to court to resolve their issues, as not going to court allows them to be as honest with each other as possible.
This method of dispute resolution is a client-driven method, in which it must be fully consensual by both parties, as well as the couple decides which issues they will discuss, and they make the decisions, rather than the decisions being made for them. The lawyers who are present at the meetings provide advice and encouragement only, as the couple plays the primary role in the resolutions.
During the proceedings, the couple must be truthful and honest as the process could potentially fail if these requirements are not met. If this happens, the party members must look elsewhere for representation as their collaborative family law providers are prohibited from working on the case file again. Collaborative family law provides a more rapid solution for couples who are separating or divorcing, as well as more efficient and effective solutions to the issues which need to be solved.
What is Divorce Mediation, or Family Law Mediation?
Family Law Mediation is a type of dispute resolution based on the cooperation and maintenance of a friendly relationship between separating or divorcing partners. This method consists of a neutral third party who is present during meetings and assists the parties in coming to an agreement of all issues pertaining to the dissolution of their relationship. There are two types of family law mediation, including closed mediation and open mediation. Closed mediation is completely confidential, as nothing is disclosed. Open mediation does not entail any confidentiality and does not prohibit the disclosure of the proceedings or decisions within the mediation.
This form of dispute resolution is client-based, in that the parties control the entire process with only the help of a neutral third party. The spouses will be required to co-operate with and listen to each other while regarding the other’s opinions and needs. If the parties are having difficulties coming to a final decision of an issue, or are having disagreements, the mediator cannot impose a settlement. The mediator does not act as a lawyer, as well as they do not advise the parties of their legal rights or obligations. The mediator simply acts as a guide within the proceedings, attempting to maintain the communication and consideration of the important issues between the parties.
Meet with a Lawyer
It is strongly advised that the parties consult with family and divorce lawyers prior to participating in any of the divorce methods listed above, as the process can only be fully secured if it is informed, as well as having lawyers present helps to protect the rights and interests of each party, which may result in a more efficient resolution of the issues. Consulting with a lawyer and choosing the divorce method that best suits your situation will determine a smooth or bumpy divorce process.