If you have exhausted every possible way to save your marriage then understanding your options for legally ending your relationship is your reward.
Do you litigate, mediate, arbitrate, or collaborate? What’s the difference between a divorce and dissolution? Choosing the right approach could save you thousands.
When speaking with a family law attorney, consider the options:
Litigation: With your attorney as your advocate, the magistrate or judge decides the outcome unless a settlement agreement is reached prior to trial.
Mediation: With the help of a mediator you and your husband determine the issues, such as how to divide assets, spousal support, visitation and child care. The recommendations of a mediator are not binding and the attorneys may suggest changes.
Arbitration: A third person, typically an attorney or a judge, determines the issues in your case in a private proceeding. This decision is binding in a court of law.
Dissolution: You and your husband decide all the issues and your attorneys draft the documents for a judge to approve.
Collaborative law: You and your husband contract with your attorneys to negotiate an agreement to dissolve your marriage without litigation. If no agreement can be reached, you must hire another attorney who will file a civil suit for divorce.
The way to handle your case depends on several variables, such as the extent of your assets, the integrity of you and your spouse, the importance of privacy, your financial ability to pay for time spent bantering in the legal system, whether abuse is an issue, the importance of expediting your case and if recourse or enforcement of court orders might be relevant.
Whether you dissolve your marriage amicably or file suit for divorce, the result is the same: your marriage has ended. While considering your options, remember that the communication challenges and issues that were present in your marriage will likely still exist during your divorce.
Cindy Hide, Esq. is a family law attorney in Houston, Texas, and Founder of Divorce Education for Women and author of 7 Steps to Divorcing Wisely: Do I Stay or Do I Leave?: A woman's guide to pray, pause and ponder. . . She offers seminars, FREE e-tips, telephone life coaching, a Professional Directory and an on-line bookstore to empower women in relationship transition. Visit http://www.DivorceEducationForWomen.com or call 713.599.0065.