Your divorce can be settled (e.g. resolving custody, support, property division, etc.) in 4 ways.
First, “litigation” involves legal decisions made for a couple by a Judge after lengthy and often costly adversarial process, including discovery, motions, evaluations, mediation, pre-trials, trial and any appeals.
Second, “negotiation” involves couples negotiating an agreement directly with each other or with assistance of counsel. Agreement terms are reduced to writing and filed with the Court upon divorce.
Third, “mediation” involves couples negotiating an agreement with a neutral mediator who meets with them alone or with counsel present. The mediator prepares the agreement for couples to review with their respective counsel before execution.
Fourth, “collaboration” (the newest way) involves spouses using a team approach to reach an agreement out of court, enlisting legal, mental health and financial specialists trained in Collaborative Law to address the unique needs of their family. Spouses are committed to cooperating to achieve the best resolutions for their family and agree in writing not to litigate the divorce.
For more information about Collaborative Law, go to the Collaborative Divorce Association website.