Types of Divorce

Stephanie Vokral |

If you and your spouse have come to the decision to file for divorce, you are in the same boat with approximately 40%-50% of other marriages. Traditionally, it is typically thought that the first step of action is to “lawyer up” and start the litigation process. Not only is this a long process, but it can be quite expensive, typically $5,000-$30,000 or more depending on the specifics of your situation. Were you aware that there are other divorce methods to consider aside from litigation? We don’t work with clients who do not engage an attorney at some point; everyone needs to know their legal rights, but it may not be the FIRST option to consider. Keep reading!

Litigation

In this process, the filing spouse is known as the Plaintiff. Once counsel is hired, the Discovery process begins where each attorney sends the opposing spouse’s attorney a list of questions called “interrogatories.” The main con to this process is that it is a long and expensive process. The pro is that you do not typically have to deal with a spouses’ drama, but it can take a toll on children, even more so than it already has. In theory, you get the info you need to either prep for mediation or make an offer to your spouse. As you know, you cannot control your spouse…or their attorney for that matter! Sometimes information is withheld by the other party until mediation. There is lots of posturing and strategy  going on between the lines. And the legal bills continue to accumulate until a settlement is reached or you go to trial, if not! This may BE the best option if an abusive spouse is involved.

DIY Divorce: Online or Pro Se

This process is typically used for simple divorces. You can go through this process online or fill out a legal court form. Filling without legal representation is called “Pro Se.” It is an inexpensive way to go about the divorce process, typically $200-$2000, but it is very easy to make mistakes that will impact your entire future. You are also susceptible to online predators. Furthermore, an online option may not be convenient for all divorcing couples as you do all the work yourself which may mean you put up with a lot of drama from the other party. These couples usually end up at an attorney’s office or my office somewhere down the road with lots of mistakes in their agreement that cannot be remedied. This may NOT be the best option if an abusive spouse is involved.

Mediation

In this divorce process, a neutral third-party (typically an attorney) is utilized in creating the marital or settlement agreement. If this process is used, both spouses must be prepared to negotiate. The divorcing couple works directly with a mediator, which significantly drops the overall cost of this process, but also means that the option of receiving legal and financial advice can be forfeited. The mediation only process can cost on average from $3,000-$15,000. This may NOT be the best option if an abusive spouse is involved.

Collaborative Divorce

In this option, collaboratively trained divorce professionals come to together to create a plan. Typically, the team members consist of therapists, divorce coaches, attorneys, and financial neutrals. Information is passed freely between professionals to all work together to come up with a plan that is best for the entire family. If there are not major hurdles, this could save the family money in the long run.

Each divorce case is unique and requires its own method, and in many cases a combination of methods. Whether it is utilizing mediation and hiring a financial neutral, hiring an attorney and a financial advocate, or whatever the combination may be, it is crucial to remember that you have to do what is going to be best for you and your specific needs. Call us today to talk about how we can assist you in the divorce process. (803)403-1308.