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Is litigation, mediation or collaboration right for your divorce?

Whether you are reluctant or onboard with ending a marriage, the divorce process cannot be initiated or even completed without a method for spouses to dissolve their union. While many couples in California and elsewhere are likely to embark in the process through litigation, it is important that spouses understand there are other methods to obtain a divorce. Whether it is to save money, make the process go quicker or reduce the negative effects of the process, it is important to understand that litigation is not the only way to end a marriage.

Is litigation, mediation or collaboration right for your divorce? In order to utilize these alternative divorce methods, it is essential to understand the purpose of each of these processes, how they could benefit a couple and what challenges each process might entail. To begin, litigation, the traditional way to settle a divorce, uses the court system to reach a divorce decree. This is typically the most costly and often time consuming way to end a marriage when compared to the alternative methods.

The divorce mediation process relies on a couple to resolve their divorce issues out of court. With the use of a neutral party, a mediator, the divorcing couple can voice their needs and desires. By putting everything on the table, couples can work toward fair and agreeable terms.

Much like divorce mediation, a collaborative divorce takes place outside of court, requiring spouses to meet several times to resolve any divorce issues. Additionally, a specially trained collaborative divorce lawyer is used to help settle the matter.

Previously, the only way to end a marriage was by litigating the matter in court. However, today there are other ways to divorce. Thus, it is important to understand your goals and the goals of the couple in order to determine what divorce method is most suitable. This could help form an amicable and workable divorce decree. What is different with this process, a collaborative divorce uses a team to reach a divorce agreement. This means using financial experts and child specialists to work through divorce issues such as property division and child custody and support.

Source:, "Litigation, Mediation, or Collaborative Divorce: Which is Right for You?," Karen Covy, May 2017

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