How to Choose the Right Amicable Divorce
It can be hard to make the decision to end your marriage, but once you have, you have more decisions to make. From custody schedules to division of property, there is much to decide in a divorce. However, one decision you may not have thought about is what kind of divorce do you and your spouse want to pursue.
A traditional divorce can cost upwards of $27,000; money that many divorcing couples don’t have. Luckily, there are many alternatives to a traditional divorce that will not only save you money, but can shorten the process and reduce conflict.
This isn’t to say that all couples will find the following divorce methods effective or desirable. Oftentimes, there are issues in a marriage that make it hard, if not impossible, for the parties involved to amicably come to decisions (a must for a divorce that avoids a courtroom). However, if you and your spouse are on reasonably good terms, then these alternatives may be more attractive than a traditional divorce.
Amicable Divorce #1: Uncontested Divorce
An uncontested divorce is also known as a mutual divorce or an agreed divorce. If you and your spouse agree on most or all of the major issues involved in your divorce, an uncontested divorce is a great solution.
In an uncontested divorce, we usually expect to help our clients work through smaller details but an agreement is reached early on before any paperwork is filed with the court. The agreement can be reached informally between the spouses, through mediation, or with the assistance of an attorney. For an uncontested divorce process to be successful, both parties need to work together to resolve issues.
If you and your spouse choose to pursue an uncontested divorce, you can hire an attorney guide you through the divorce process or you can handle it yourself. If you choose to file pro se, without an attorney, you will need to educate yourself on the DIY process, which includes drafting the forms, filing with the court and ensuring that all deadlines and court requirements are met prior to the date a judge reviews your submission.
Amicable Divorce #2: Collaborative Divorce
Collaborative divorce is a good option for couples who have a relationship that allows them to cooperate and compromise with each other. You don’t have to begin a collaborative divorce in agreement with your spouse, but you need to be open to working together to reach a solution that works for you both.
A collaborative divorce is a process of negotiation that takes place outside of a courtroom, in private, between spouses and their attorneys. Outside experts can be consulted in the form of financial advisors or child specialists to work through any sticky issues. All parties work together, in the same room, to finalize the divorce agreement.
It’s important to note that, under Washington state law, attorneys involved in a collaborative divorce process are barred from taking the case to court. This means if either spouse decides to end the collaborative process, then both attorneys need to withdraw from the case. In divorce, going to court leads to higher legal costs for clients, so the main benefit of this unique rule is you’ll have peace of mind knowing your attorney has no incentive to encourage you to go to court.
Amicable Divorce #3: Divorce Mediation
Less of a true alternative and more of a tool to help you avoid the courtroom, divorce mediation is a process where you and your spouse sit down with a neutral, trained mediator to discuss undecided divorce issues. If you and your spouse are in the middle of a traditional divorce or just examining your options and need a little help finding a place of agreement, a divorce mediator is a great option.
Typically, a mediator is brought in when the couple is going round and round about the same issues. They’ve stopped hearing the other person and can’t understand why their viewpoint isn’t understood. An experienced mediator can ensure each party involved is actively listening and hearing the other person’s viewpoint to help move the conversation to a more productive place.
Getting a divorce doesn’t have to mean taking a trip to a courtroom or engaging in a battle with your spouse. In many cases, a divorce can be an amicable process that ends the relationship without hard feelings. These divorce methods can help facilitate you and your spouse moving on in positive ways to the next chapter of your lives. If you have further questions or would like more information about Truce Law, please call 206.409.4086 or send us a message.