Not all divorces are long, drawn-out processes that require a judge. In fact, some separations are civil and fairly simple. When families are on the same page about the divorce process and want to handle everything peaceably and privately, they may turn to mediation or the collaborative process. Both options allow couples to handle separation outside of the courtroom where they can hear each other out and work with their attorneys/mediators privately.
Couples may choose mediation or it may be court ordered to de-escalate a situation. Mediators are not able to provide any legal advice or make any decisions for you. Their job is to help the two parties communicate effectively and understand alternative points of view during divorce proceedings.
Mediation may result in a binding agreement that prevents the case from going to court, saving both parties time and money. However, if a compromise is not possible, the case may proceed to litigation.
One benefit of mediation is that it provides privacy that court proceedings cannot. The only people allowed in mediation proceedings are the participants, lawyers, and mediators. Additionally, if the case does go to court, no one may testify on anything that happened during mediation.
Like mediation, collaborative practice is a type of alternative dispute resolution that involves resolving your case outside of court-based litigation. Unlike mediation where there is a single neutral mediator, the collaborative process involves a team of professionals, where each party has their own attorney representing them.
Other professionals are involved in the collaborative process as needed for each individual case. These can be mental health coaches, neutral professionals like finance and child specialists, or other allied professionals such as mortgage and real estate professionals.
The goal of collaborative practice is to have a client-driven and respectful process to resolving all issues in your case. More information on collaborative practice can be found at https://www.collaborativepractice.com/what-collaborative-practice.
Uncontested Divorce and Separation Agreements
If you choose an alternative dispute resolution rather than pursuing divorce in court, you will work with them to draw up a Separation and Property Settlement agreement. One of these agreements may cover any of the following:
- Child custody, visitation, and child support
- Bank accounts and other financial divisions
- Personal property division
- Division of debt
- Any other issues arising out of your marriage
Once the agreement is signed by both parties, either can file with the courts for an uncontested divorce. A judge, master, or special master will review the documents and the case to finalize the divorce.
At the Law Offices of Karen D. Amos, we have over 30 years of experience in family law, including mediation and collaborative practice. Our attorneys are trained as collaborative practitioners who can work with you to help you and your spouse reach a compromise that is agreeable to both parties. Karen D. Amos, Esq. is also a trained neutral mediator. If you have questions about the collaboration or mediation processes or would like to schedule a consultation, you can give us a call at (240) 786-4934 or contact us on the website.