Have you decided to end your marriage? Do you just want to end it fairly, without going to war? If so, you may have come to the right place. The emphasis in this practice is on more peaceable divorce processes: Mediated Divorce, Collaborative Divorce, and Uncontested Divorce. This does not mean that corners are cut or that one side can be bullied. The emphasis is on quality of result, sustainability, fairness, and cost-effectiveness.
Some qualitative reasons for non-adversarial divorce include preserving the ability to part as friends, preserving the ability to co-parent together, preserving the autonomy of the parties to decide their own post-divorce arrangements, and preserving assets for family use rather than spending them on court fights.
For a consultation meeting to see if a non-adversarial divorce process might be right for you, fill in the contact information below. The fee for an initial consultation is $200. The goal for the initial meeting is for you to learn your divorce options, to assess the process that might be right for you, and to help you chart your path forward.
When people get married, they are like two plants that become rooted in the same pot of soil. Their roots and stems become intertwined and woven together. The process of divorce is a bit like taking those two plants, that have grown together, and then separating them back into two separate pots. In this practice, every effort is made to help separate the plants into two different pots once again, but in such a way as to try and avoid damage to the roots and to enable both plants to resume healthy lives independently from one another.
This approach is not appropriate for every case. Both members of a divorcing couple must explicitly affirm their commitment to being fair to one another. If that commitment is present, processes and experts are available to help the couple reach fair solutions. If one or both are not committed to principles of fairness, the judicial system will be needed to enforce those principles from the outside in.
There are many aspects to re-establishing identity as a single person after divorce. There is emotional divorce (moving apart emotionally), physical divorce (moving apart physically), financial divorce (moving apart financially), and legal divorce (moving apart legally). When all the components of divorce are examined, it becomes apparent that the legal component of divorce is really just one aspect of what it takes to be divorced. The bulk of the transition process involves business and financial decisions, shifting of living arrangements, and rearrangement of parenting time and responsibilities.
Who will decide these business and financial, living, parenting, and other aspects of divorce? The goal of a non-adversarial divorce process is to empower the couple themselves to decide what arrangements work best for them.
If one uses the analogy of the plants with roots, the couple themselves figure out how to disentangle the roots. There may be painful decisions, with some pruning and cutting necessary, but overall the goal of divorce mediation is to empower the couple themselves to find the best solutions overall for their family. When both parties are committed to principles of fairness and want to be fair to one another, mediators have many tools to help parties make a mutual, voluntary decision about what is fair.
Parents who work together are also better able to provide a cushion for their children, reducing the effects their separation has on the children. Parents choosing non-adversarial divorce have more flexibility to work out solutions that make the transitions as seamless as possible for their children. Non-adversarial divorce doesn’t just shield children from conflict, however. Many parents feel that choosing a more peaceable approach to a challenging situation actually creates a better role model for their children. Parents choose not to model negative behavior. Instead, they demonstrate to their children that even when disagreement is irreconcilable, two adults can work through conflict respectfully and fairly, and in a way that avoids harm to their loved ones.
The difference between a mediated divorce and a divorce that uses mediation as part of a legal settlement process involves a profound difference in paradigm. The legal system is adversarial in nature. Additionally, filing legal papers as a first step in the process automatically asks a judge to make all the decisions for the parties. Once a judge has been asked to make a decision, then the entire focus is on building a “case” to present to the judge. The parties are no longer in control of their own decisions, lawyers are needed to manage the process, and costs escalate because of the nature of the process. Mediation in this context is reduced to a settlement conference.
Choosing a non-adversarial paradigm, in contrast, keeps parties in control of their own decisions. If the parties need help in reaching decisions or in deciding what is fair, a professional mediator has many tools to assist with this. After a decision is reached on all the relevant issues, the legal process is only invoked to ask a judge to review the agreement for fairness, to ensure it is in the best interest of the children, and to finalize the order of divorce.
While it is impossible to say ahead of time what will be involved in final resolution of any individual case, overall the cost of a non-adversarial process is generally a fraction the cost of an adversarial, litigated divorce. Cost is not the main reason to choose non-adversarial divorce, however. The true benefit is the ability to find better solutions for the challenges facing the parties, as well as the ability to preserve whatever is left of the relationship. These are especially important benefits when children are involved. Par the parents will need to work as a team for many years forward to ensure the best future for their offspring.
To learn more about mediated divorce, call 803-414-0185 or complete the contact form below: