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What You Need to Learn About Divorce Before Asking for One

Many couples find out the hard way how draining a divorce can be, both financially and emotionally. For this reason, it is essential for anyone contemplating divorce to do his/her research and get educated about the process before filing a request for divorce with the court. There are several legal options to consider, including litigation, do-it-yourself and mediation, and some of them are more costly or lengthy than others. Not one option works for every situation or couple, but the best option is always the one that encourages communication and cooperation between the separating partners.

Today, many couples have unrealistic expectations about their divorce. Tabloid papers and Hollywood movies tend to emphasize animosity and conflict between partners. While litigation is seen as a more traditional and trusted option, the process automatically puts spouses on opposite sides and on the defensive. Most divorcing couples can find common grounds to avoid aggressive litigation in court. For this reason, litigation should always be the last option to handle the divorce process.

Because of the cost associated with many divorces, especially when using attorneys, some couples try to save money by choosing the do-it-yourself (DIY) divorce. Depending on the couple’s relationship, assets, debts, and family situation, a DIY divorce could end up costing a lot more than expected if conflict occurs and couples can’t agree. In addition, unless both spouses are highly educated about family law, they may leave many issues unaddressed by handling the divorce themselves, which may delay their final divorce judgment for several months, or possibly years. Finally, couples opting for a DIY divorce also have no recourse left once they have agreed on everything and the final divorce papers are signed. Taking on this extra risk and responsibility to save a few dollars in the process is often not worth it.

Couples seeking divorce will be most successful when working together on a low-conflict resolution. Divorce mediation is often the best venue for parties open to negotiating and to reaching a compromise on the many aspects of their divorce, from the division of community assets and debts, the division of retirement and pension plans, child custody, child support, visitation schedules, spousal support (alimony), and any other issues relevant to the couple. Because divorce mediation helps couples reach their own decisions, a final marital settlement agreement (MSA) can often be completed in just a few months.

To learn more about the mediation process, complete our request for a free online evaluation, and to receive a free 30-minute phone consultation or call 619-702-9174.