Every marriage is unique, so when a relationship comes to an end, you should expect the divorce process to be determined by your circumstances as well as the expectations for what you deserve, especially when dividing complex assets.
Experienced divorce attorneys put their clients’ needs first, regardless of whether both parties work together through negotiation, mediation or collaboration, or they are unwilling to cooperate and leave the decisions to a judge through litigation.
The 4 basic types of divorce
Knowledgeable family law attorneys deal with conflict all the time and are committed to finding the best outcome for their clients, whether it’s by reaching an agreement or litigation. Let’s look at the four basic ways to get a divorce:
Many divorce cases are resolved through compromise. However, that doesn’t mean you have to give in to every demand made by your spouse. Settling is an art form, and your attorney will fight for the best deal possible, even threatening litigation if necessary.
This process typically involves talking to your attorney about what you want. Your lawyer presents a proposal to your spouse’s attorney, and then a response is drafted and submitted to your lawyer, who shares it with you. This back-and-forth by the attorneys typically continues until a deal is reached.
Not all couples who get divorced are bitter enemies, and some even remain friendly when a divorce is final. Mediation is all about working together with the discussion being led by a neutral third-party who understands Washington divorce laws and steers the discourse.
Both parties can still hire their own attorneys for advice, but you and your spouse will meet with the mediator to resolve your differences. This is usually accomplished through a series of meetings at times chosen by you and your spouse, and the process remains private.
A collaborative divorce is much like mediation in that it remains private, and you and your spouse work together to settle your divorce out of court. However, each party has their own lawyer trained in collaborative law, and all four sign an agreement committing to the process.
One incentive of this contract is that if you can’t work things out, your attorneys can’t represent you in court, and you must start over with new lawyers. In many cases, this process includes neutral financial and mental health professionals to help reach a settlement.
If you find it nearly impossible to collaborate with your spouse in your divorce, you may have no other option but to proceed with litigation. In these scenarios, it is especially important to get an experienced attorney to effectively prepare you for the trial ahead, as your ex will likely be doing the same.
You will meet numerous times with your lawyer and must show up when ordered by the court. In the end, the major decisions are made by the judge, and the proceedings are public records. It’s not an easy process to go through, but it may be a necessary one if you cannot stand to be in the same room as your ex and you want to start the next part of your life in a favorable position.
Which divorce style is right for you?
The process you choose will most likely rest on your comfort level with the length of the divorce, how much it will cost, how much stress you can handle and the best way to achieve what you believe to be a fair outcome. That’s why it’s crucial to work with a lawyer who puts your needs first and is equally adept at working towards a settlement or fighting for you in a courtroom.