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Understanding the different options for divorce

According to the U.S. Census, there were nearly 30,000 divorces in Pennsylvania in 2009.
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    January 08, 2014 /24-7PressRelease/ -- No divorce is ever easy, even an amicable one. Emotions and tempers often run high even in the best of situations, since it can be difficult to come to agreements that make both parties happy. Traditionally, a judge helps to sort out the worst of these issues when neither spouse can get along. Yet more and more people today are turning to alternative options for ending a marriage, especially when kids are involved. When a couple is able to get through their divorce smoothly and quickly, without bitterness or arguing and making the process harder on themselves and on their children, everyone benefits.

According to the U.S. Census, there were nearly 30,000 divorces in Pennsylvania in 2009. Many of these couples opted for a mediated or collaborative divorce, rather than litigation. These newer types of divorces are especially attractive in today's difficult financial times, says the Chicago Times, because uncontested divorces are often more cost-effective than taking the matter to court. However, nothing is guaranteed, and in some cases it's not advisable to attempt mediation or collaboration. It's important when considering a divorce to weigh the options and decide which would be best for your situation.

Which option is best for you?

If you and your soon-to-be ex can have a respectful conversation without letting negative emotions take over, you may be good candidates for mediation or collaboration. Although similar in that this type of divorce is usually uncontested, there are differences between these two methods:

Collaboration: In collaboration, each spouse has an attorney present. Other professionals, such as therapists, financial advisors and divorce consultants, may also be employed. This option usually costs more than mediation, but can be worth it in cases where significant assets or child custody issues are a problem.

Mediation: A neutral third party, such as a certified mediator or attorney with mediation experience, sits down with a couple during mediation to draft out agreeable divorce terms. If needed, the mediator can sit with each spouse separately. Attorneys aren't necessary, but can help look over documents before they're signed.

Litigation: In cases where an agreement can't be made, or if domestic violence, emotional abuse or substance abuse were issues during the marriage, taking the matter to court may be necessary. Many attorneys are able to help bring a contested divorce to an agreeable resolution without litigation, saving time and money. It's important to realize that when one or both spouses feel intimidated or powerless, mediation or collaboration may be more harmful than helpful.

How an attorney can help

No matter which option you choose, it's a good idea to consult with an experienced divorce attorney, who will be able to help you make the best decision for your individual circumstances.

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