Choosing How to End Your Marital Union is an Important Decision that You have to Make

Choosing How to End Your Marital Union is an Important Decision that You have to Make

As explained by the law firm Higdon, Hardy & Zuflacht, “In the midst of any divorce, it is overwhelming to think about all of the legal aspects that you must account for when setting up your new life. Not only are you undergoing a formidable change within your relationship, but also you have to make arrangements to accommodate your new family dynamic. You will have to make decisions regarding your finances, estates, assets, and relationship with your children.”

While some divorce cases may be settled peacefully and at a much shorter time, those that end up in court usually take a long time due to the number of issues that need to be settled which, unfortunately, many divorcing spouses never get to reach an agreement immediately. Divorce involves making very important decisions concerning financial, parental and personal matters. Deciding on these different concerns, however, which are included in issues, such as custody of child/children, payment (and amount) of child support and/or spousal support, and division of properties, assets and debts, are what makes divorce complex, emotional, demoralizing and extremely frustrating, especially if everything is settled the traditional way – through a court. This is why choosing how to end a marital union is very important as it could mean not wasting time, effort and, especially, money, which you could instead live on after the divorce or use for your kids. In the past, the court was the only place where a divorce case could be settled. Today, however, there is a variety of alternative dispute resolutions, allowing divorcing couples to end their union in a way that will best suit their situation. Below are the various procedures through which divorcing couples may terminate their union and settle all divorce-related issues:

  • Contested Divorce or Litigated Divorce. This is traditional way of ending a marital union. It is settled in a family court, open to the public and can drag on for months or years depending on the number of divorce-related issues that need to be settled and how fast or slow spouses will choose to argue with each other. Because of its adversarial approach, people who sit in court witness how divorcing spouses, through their lawyers, discredit one another in their attempt to win the favor of the judge who, in turn, will decide on all divorce issues, whether his/her decisions are acceptable to either or both spouses. Aside from a judge-settled divorce process, other results of contested divorce include spouses turning bitter towards each other and making each other feel devastated and destitute.
  • Uncontested Divorce. Besides arriving at a settlement without having to go to trial, this divorce procedure is quicker and cheaper compared to contested divorce. Uncontested divorce is a private process. Though it does not mean agreeing outrightly about the issues related to divorce, spouses are given the chance to negotiate in order to iron out any disagreements regarding certain issues. The main issue about this type of divorce procedure is, despite the disagreements and the need to negotiate, the spouses remain to be in control and are sure to get through everything.
  • Mediated Divorce or Divorce Mediation. This private, out-of-court legal procedure allows spouses to settle all divorce-related issues by themselves. A neutral third party, called a mediator, who may be chosen by the spouses themselves, sits with them to help them reach an agreement. This mediator does not make any decisions regarding any issues – these are made by the spouses themselves. What he/she does is make sure that the spouses are able to talk and argue openly, but in a way which will not destroy the amicable process which they chose in settling the issues at hand. Though each spouse may or may not be represented by an attorney, who can help them understand the legal matters related to divorce and know if the agreement arrived at is reasonable and worth signing, compared to contested divorce, this process is still much cheaper.
  • Collaborative Divorce. In this type of divorce process, both spouses have their respective lawyers who, with the spouses, work cooperatively in settling the divorce case. For fair negotiations, each spouse is required to disclose all important information that will affect the divorce and all related issues. In the event that this process does not settle the divorce case, each spouse will have to hire new attorneys who will take the case to trial.

Your future should not be left to chance. Protecting yourself and your family during this time of change is top priority; thus, it may be wise to seek the help of a knowledgeable and dedicated attorney to whom you will be confident entrusting your case and future.

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