This article was updated May 10, 2021 and originally published on Mar 1, 2018.
Interested in settling a divorce out of court? Check out our newest resource about divorce settlement out of court using either divorce mediation or collaborative divorce. We created this guide because so many of our clients call us for divorce advice and share with us that they don’t want to fight – they just want to figure it out. It’s great to know we offer alternatives to divorce litigation!
This new infographic provides a side-by-side comparison of a litigated divorce and a divorce settled out of court with divorce mediation or the collaborative divorce process. Use this guide to help you decide which option works best for you. If you have questions, give us a call at 314-725-4000 or schedule a consultation.
Which process sounds like the way you would like to navigate your divorce?
Divorce Options in St. Louis Besides Litigation
Getting a divorce is usually one of the most painful and heartbreaking decisions a person can make. In many cases, divorcing couples will also need to tackle various complex legal issues, which could prove to be more complicated and challenging if there are children or significant assets involved.
Fortunately, divorcing couples have other options to settle their divorce besides litigation. Two of these options include divorce mediation and collaborative divorce. To better understand these alternative divorce options, the St. Louis divorce lawyer at J. Rench Law Firm LLC can help. In the meantime, here’s what you need to know about collaborative divorce and divorce mediation in St. Louis.
Benefits of Divorce Mediation
During divorce mediation, the divorcing couple will work with a neutral divorce mediator, which means that the mediator can’t advocate for either spouse. The mediator will attempt to help them come to a fair agreement on all divorce aspects. Some of the benefits of mediation include:
- Privacy, as mediation is kept private, while a litigated divorce is not
- Mediation is often quicker than litigation
- Couples who use mediation often have a better relationship post-divorce than those who go to court
- Mediation allows the parties to have more control of the outcome
- Lower expenses
This alternative divorce option is usually best for divorcing couples that trust each other enough to negotiate fairly. It’s important to note that both spouses should still work with their own lawyers during divorce mediation to ensure that the final divorce agreement they come up with is fair and suitable for everyone involved.
Benefits of Collaborative Divorce
In a collaborative divorce, the divorcing couple agrees to settle their divorce issues without taking their case to court. In addition, the lawyers for each party agree to withdraw if they are unable to reach a settlement. In this way, the parties are highly incentivized to reach a settlement, as they would have to start over with new attorneys if they do not.
Meeting with Both Your Lawyer and Your Spouse’s Lawyer
In a collaborative divorce, both spouses will need to work with their own divorce lawyers who should have experience with collaborative divorce to help them and advise them through divorce settlement negotiations. Unlike mediation, where a mediator handles meetings, in a collaborative divorce, you’ll meet with your lawyer separately and also meet with your spouse and his or her lawyer.
Other Professionals Involved in Your Divorce
Depending on the particular circumstances of the divorce, the process could also include neutral professionals like divorce financial planners, who can help work through the financial aspects of the divorce. In some cases, a therapist can be handy when negotiating emotionally charged issues, such as figuring out specific custody and visitation arrangements that would be in the best interests of children. If the couple manages to come to an agreement on their issues, they will need to go to family court to have a judge approve and sign the divorce settlement agreement.
An Important Note on Do-It-Yourself Divorce
The reality is that most divorces are complicated, both financially and legally. Even the most well-meaning and amicable divorcing couples can make seemingly simple mistakes that turn out to be irreversible and hurt the entire family in the long run. With that said, a DIY divorce might be possible if there are no kids involved, no spousal support, and little to zero assets and/or debts that need dividing. If you find yourself in this situation, it’s still a good idea to have an experienced divorce lawyer review your divorce documents as a safeguard.
Seek Legal Counsel from an Experienced St. Louis Divorce Lawyer
Is an alternative divorce option will be right for you and your spouse? If both of you are confident that you can deal with your divorce issues with some advice from your attorneys, then mediation might work. If you require more help from lawyers and professionals and are not exactly on great terms with your spouse, then you may consider a collaborative divorce. Finally, in some cases, your only option may be going to court.
To help you decide, reach out to J. Rench Law Firm LLC to schedule your free consultation with our St. Louis divorce mediation attorney. Our lawyer will be able to explain to you in detail all the divorce options that may be suitable for your case. You can get in touch with us by phone at 314-207-0641 or by completing our online form.