The path you take to navigate, negotiate, and reach an agreement on your divorce will have a huge impact on your experience. When considering how to get divorced, there are five main methods: self-filing, mediation, collaboration law, arbitration, and litigation. Each of these five paths has different advantages, disadvantages and costs. However, you are not limited to these five options when deciding how to get a divorce.
If you are like most people, your divorce will involve several problems. You and your spouse may have different matches or conflicts for each problem. As a result, the approach you take with your parenting plan may be different than the approach you take with alimony or the marital home.
Creative options for divorce
Variations of self submission
If you’re getting divorced in some states, you have the option to get a quick, simplified version of self-filing. When you get divorced in Oregon, it is called a summary resolution. You must qualify for a summary resolution where you have no children or real estate, and few assets and debts.
If you have a spouse who is opposed to the divorce, they may not be able to attend or sign the paperwork to be co-petitioners on the self-filing. However, if you are certain that your proposed settlement will not be contested, then you can only file the dissolution request. The summons will be “served” on your spouse. If your spouse doesn’t challenge the petition within 30 days, you can proceed. They will then seek a standard judgment to finalize the divorce. If your spouse is in the military, different rules may apply.
Whether you are filing as the sole petitioner or as a co-petitioner, you can use a mediator to discuss and negotiate aspects of your agreement. Ask mediators or lawyers to offer advice on the decisions you make regarding parenting, finances, and taxes. You can also seek advice from a lawyer about your legal rights. You may want to get an attorney to check the court forms for accuracy prior to filing.
If you don’t want to fill out the forms yourself, there are several legal services that will submit the documents for you. Paralegals typically charge $ 150 to $ 300 for this service.
Variations in Divorce Mediation
You’re making progress on divorce mediation but aren’t sure what a fair solution is. Or you have disagreements on some issues and wonder how a judge would decide. In these cases, you can be better informed and supported by consulting a divorce lawyer. They each bring what you learned about the predicted legal outcome back to the mediation table. With this more informed perspective, you will likely be able to reach an agreement within mediation.
You may have a tentative brokerage agreement on the children and bank accounts, but you are stuck in the house or in spousal support. Then use arbitration or hire lawyers to focus solely on negotiating and resolving the deadlocked problems. This limits your legal costs and your exposure.
Variations of Litigation
The lawyers representing and negotiating you and your spouse have reached an impasse on a certain matter. You have soaring legal costs as the lawyers try unsuccessfully to reach an agreement. Your lawyers may have different legal perspectives. However, the dead end is often due to the emotional strain you and your spouse have regarding the problem.
In these situations, you can use divorce mediation to negotiate this issue in other ways. Divorce mediators enable discussions about the underlying values, goals, and emotions of problems. This approach often helps you loosen up and come up with creative solutions.
Another variety of divorce litigation is one where you use the family court to get a final verdict on your case without the help of lawyers. Either spouse can choose to go to a hearing and represent themselves rather than using legal counsel. If you want to protect your legal interests, it is usually not recommended. Representing in a family court hearing is particularly risky if your spouse is represented by a lawyer.
It is your divorce. Be creative
Regardless of your divorce process, remember that you are not trapped in this path. Notice how your divorce goes. Does it feel productive, like you are making progress? Are you managing the underlying conflicts well with the process you are using? How do you feel about costs and time and are there better alternatives? By taking responsibility for how you get divorced, you can make the best decisions for yourself, your family, and your future.