You and your partner are unique. You want your best interests represented while developing the foundation for great co-parenting. You want to keep costs low and move through the process quickly and with as little pain as possible.
If you fit that description, then you are a part of a rising trend in family law. More and more couples are choosing marriage dissolution alternatives such as mediation, collaborative law and arbitration to save time, money and relationships. Before embarking on this journey, you would be wise to brush up on the differences.
Mediation: Through mediation, you can hire a neutral third party, specially trained in mediation, to guide you through the divorce process. If you have minor children and you feel confident that you can come to some agreements on your own, this can be an effective foundation to build a new co-parenting relationship. You typically only deal with the mediator whose job it is not to take sides. In this scenario, you are the decision maker.
Collaborative Law: This type of proceeding is for couples who need some help problem solving some of the terms of their agreement. In this team based approach, your representative can call in specialists in areas such as mental health, finance and child development. Collaborative law is different from mediation in that each partner has a representative who fights for their best interests.
Arbitration: An arbitrator is trained in conflict resolution, and couples in conflict are typically their clients. Although there are many forms of arbitration, the most important difference is whether the outcome is binding or simply advisory. If the arbitrator’s decision is advisory, you can tweak their advice and move on towards out of court agreement. A binding agreement is just that: binding.
The dissolution of your marriage does not need to be a long, painful process that damages your family, relationships and bank account. There are alternatives that take your individuality into account. All you need to do is ask for help.