If you and your spouse mutually agree to divorce, your relationship is good enough to talk with each other, and you are willing to come up with a fair divorce settlement, you may be able to avoid litigation.
Mediation and collaborative law are two alternative methods for those wanting a less contentious divorce. Although their approaches are different, the goal for both is an agreed upon, and equitable, agreement.
How mediation can help
According to FindLaw, mediation has become a popular option for many divorcing couples. Led by a neutral mediator, mediation allows both parties to discuss topics, such as property division and child custody, and come up with a divorce agreement together. The mediator guides these conversations, offers creative solutions and helps resolve any conflicts.
Along with coming up with a divorce settlement, additional benefits of mediation include less expense, shorter time, better post-divorce communication and less emotional stress. It also helps shield children from many of the conflicts.
Combining problem-solving with negotiation
The Harvard Law School Program on Negotiation discusses another option, which is collaborative law. This combines negotiation strategies with mediation’s problem-solving skills.
The first step in this process is for each spouse to hire an attorney. Unlike in litigation, in which the lawyers battle it out, the attorneys agree to negotiate and productively work together to come up with an equitable settlement for both parties. In this process, the parties can hire experts, such as a child psychologist or finance professional, to help.
All parties also agree that if they cannot come up with a fair agreement, and they decide to move on to litigation, each party will hire a different attorney for that process.