Is a peaceful divorce possible?

Mediation and collaborative law are two popular uncontested divorce options. These methods may reduce conflict and cost less than litigation.

Getting a divorce may conjure up images of lengthy and contentious court battles, as well as icy meetings with exes during child visitation changeovers. While it is true that most divorces have some degree of contention, uncontested divorces are gaining in popularity and changing how family law is done for many people in Texas and elsewhere.

Two of the most common ways of ending a marriage through uncontested means are mediation and collaborative law. According to U.S. News and World Report, both methods may have advantages over traditional litigated divorce. However, both options are different from each other, have a few limitations and may not work for everyone. It is important to understand how each method works before making a decision.

Mediation

This method of uncontested divorce involves a neutral third party, who sits with the divorcing couple and helps them reach solutions to their disputes that they both can live with. The neutral party may be a certified mediator or an attorney who has experience in this method. Often, family law attorneys are also certified mediators.

The American Bar Association states that mediation is an attractive option to many couples because it can cost significantly less than litigation, often takes less time and is private. Couples may learn negotiation and communication techniques that may continue to benefit them throughout their lives. Mediation is also known to reduce conflict, which may be especially beneficial for couples with children.

Collaborative law

A collaborative divorce has many of the same advantages of privacy and negotiation strategies common to mediation. In addition, a collaborative divorce involves each party's own attorney. Divorcing spouses may consult with other professionals, such as financial advisors and child therapists. Collaborative law may be an effective option for those with complex disputes. Each party signs an agreement not to go to court, which may provide an incentive to cooperate with each other. If an agreement cannot be reached, the attorneys must resign and each spouse must find new attorneys.

There are some cases in which uncontested divorce may not be possible or advisable. For example, spouses who experienced domestic violence or substance abuse may find it difficult to treat each other respectfully during mediation sessions. It is necessary that couples are able to talk to each other civilly, to keep an open mind and to compromise when choosing an uncontested divorce method. It may be necessary to speak with an experienced Texas family law attorney about the method that is best suited for each situation.