Your decision to file for divorce in a California court might have been a long time in the making or prompted by a rather sudden change of events. Either way, once you decided to sever your marital ties, you knew there would be numerous issues to resolve before you could move on in life. If you're one of many parents who are navigating divorce, challenges may arise regarding custody, visitation or support.
Getting divorced doesn't necessarily mean you'll have to enter litigation. In fact, many spouses are able to finalize their settlements without ever stepping foot inside a courtroom. There are several reasons why such options might be desirable. Exploring your options and knowing where to seek support are keys to accomplishing your immediate and long-term goals.
Alternative methods help save time and money
Finances may be a top concern of yours as you prepare to enter a new lifestyle. It's no secret that litigation is typically expensive. If you're able to use mediation or collaborative law to settle your divorce, you might be better off financially in the long run.
Perhaps -- because one of the goals of alternative dispute resolution is to avoid confrontation -- divorce mediation or collaboration usually takes less time than hashing things out in a courtroom.
Are you willing and able to negotiate?
Like all good parents, you have your children's best interests in mind. While you'll no longer share a household with your ex, the two of you will still be co-parents for life. Your children have a greater chance of successfully adapting to their new lifestyle if you and your co-parent can work as a team for their sake.
Litigation is often stressful and upsetting for all involved. If you and your ex are willing to cooperate and compromise, mediation or collaboration might be less stressful, viable options in your case.
You can control the outcome
If you enter litigation, the judge overseeing your case will be the one making all the decisions regarding property division, child custody, alimony and all other divorce-related issues. It's possible to retain a lot of control over your settlement by choosing divorce mediation instead.
In mediated sessions, you and your ex will discuss all pertinent issues in an amicable fashion with common goals in mind. If you disagree, you will have already agreed to avoid arguing, and instead, keep the topic of discussion on the table until you can come up with a fair and agreeable solution. In the end, you decide what your settlement will be, then seek the court's approval.
Is litigation still an option?
Nearly 95% of all people getting divorces in California and beyond settle their cases out of court. However, you can take comfort in knowing that, if you try divorce mediation or other alternative options and it doesn't work out, you can convert your case to litigation, as necessary.