The Benefits of a “No-Court” Divorce

By January 30, 2012Divorce

A “no court” divorce, also called “collaborative divorce” is a way for divorcing spouses to resolve all the major issues of divorce outside of court.  This gives control over important matters like property division, child custody, and support to the spouses rather than to a judge.  It also costs a fraction of what both of spouses would spend fighting over these issues in court.  Here is how a “no court” divorce generally works.

Initial Agreement on No-Court Divorce

The process begins with you and your spouse agreeing to try a no-court divorce and each hiring a divorce attorney for advice and assistance.  Then you, your spouse, and your lawyers meet to discuss all the options available. The goal is to design a strategy that will resolve matters peacefully and set a cooperative tone for any post-divorce interactions.  This is particularly helpful where children are involved.

Agreeing on a strategy for handling the divorce may occur either before or immediately after a Petition for Dissolution is filed.  Once this is followed by the filing of temporary orders, responses, and case management stipulations, the no-court resolution process begins.

Negotiation

Your first option for handling the divorce issues is negotiation.  You and your spouse, with your respective attorneys, attempt to resolve issues through face-to-face meetings and the exchange of written offers and counter-offers.  This process will usually be accompanied by any asset or valuation appraisals needed – for example, of the family home, or of a business owned by one or both spouses.  Each spouse may need a CPA or tax attorney to plot the best financial strategy for property division and support.  The goal is always to reach a mutually acceptable agreement rather than to fight over the various matters in your divorce.

Mediation

When the spouses are too emotional to resolve issues through negotiation, or when they can’t agree on one or more issues, mediation by a trained divorce mediator may be useful.  In one or more sessions, the mediator typically meets separately with each party and their attorney, and then holds a joint meeting with both parties and attorneys.  The mediator helps to diffuse emotions and bring the parties to the point where they can each make and accept concessions to resolve one or more issues.

Arbitration

Finally, if the parties are still at odds, they can agree to have a trained private arbitrator – typically, a retired family law judge or a family lawyer with years of experience – hold a hearing and make a decision for them.  Although this is not cheap, it is still far less expensive than a court proceeding.

Finalizing the Divorce

When all of the issues are resolved, and any insurance and tax issues have been handled, the divorce is ready to be finalized.  Legal papers are filed, and the court issues an order dissolving the marriage.

Although the ending of a marriage is never a happy time, the no-court divorce can save money, preserve relationships, make it easier for the divorced parents to communicate comfortably on issues concerning their children, and allow the children a smoother transition into the new family situation.

Call Minella Law Group for Either Traditional or No-Court Divorce

The experienced divorce lawyers of Minella Law Group can help you through either a traditional or no-court divorce, while protecting your rights to a fair resolution on issues of property division, child and spousal support, and child custody.  To set up an appointment, please call Minella Law Group today at (619) 289-7948.  We look forward to helping you.

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