There are several ways that a couple can precede with a divorce settlement in New Hampshire. Depending on their particular situation, it is important for couples to make sure that they choose the process that will work best for them. Often, this means speaking to a divorce attorney and doing a bit of reading about the different options available. In an article that originally appeared in Forbes Magazine, divorce advisor Jeff Landers list the pros and cons of several popular divorce alternatives. Landers is president and founder of a divorce financial strategy firm. He discusses 4 types of divorce strategies including do-it-yourself (DIY), mediation, collaborative and litigation.
In a DIY divorce, also known as a kitchen table discussion, couples sit down by themselves and hash out the specifics of their divorce settlement. Attorneys are not involved and all decisions are worked out between the two of them. Landers does not advise anyone to use this method of divorce. He states “You can easily make mistakes, and often those mistakes are irreversible.” The only type of couple that should even consider this type of divorce would be those ending a very short marriage who have no children, very little assets or debts and where neither party is seeking alimony. Still, it is highly recommended that anyone seeking a divorce consult with an experienced divorce lawyer.
The next type of divorce discussed is mediation. In divorce mediation, a couple works with a third-party mediator to reach a divorce agreement. The mediator must remain neutral and cannot give advice to either party on what would be in their best interest. For this reason, couple seeking mediation should also consult with their own private divorce attorneys. Landers lists the benefits of mediation in that it is relatively inexpensive and quick, it allows couples to avoid fighting in court which can affect their long-term relationships and be hard on the children, it allows couples to be in control of the decision-making process and it is private whereas litigation is a public matter.
There are, however, many cons to mediation. As Landers describes in his article, an inexperienced or biased mediator could lead to one party being unfairly favored. He argues that a mediator has a goal to help parties reach an agreement which can be any agreement and not necessarily one that is beneficial to everyone. During the mediation process, if one party has a more dominant personality, they could use this to get an unbalanced settlement favoring themselves.
Collaborative divorce is similar to mediation except it involves a team of professional instead of just one third-party. In the collaborative process both spouses have their own private attorney and all four parties agree to avoid litigation. In fact, they even sign a contract agreeing that if litigation is necessary the attorneys must resign from the case. In addition to attorneys, professionals may also be consulted during the process. Mental health professionals, financial advisors, and parenting experts can all be utilized with the goal of helping couples achieve the best settlement possible. Collaborative divorce is a great option for divorcing couples because it encapsulates all the benefits of mediation while allowing couples to seek advice and opinions from professionals ensuring that they make the most informed decisions.
Landers advises that the only people who should not consider collaborative divorce are couples who have a history of domestic violence or substance abuse, couples who may be hiding assets from each other or couples with one spouse who is very controlling over the other.
Finally, Lander discusses litigated divorce. With this process, both parties hire an attorney who then attempt to negotiate terms of the divorce. If an agreement cannot be reached for a particular issue, it will be taken to court for a judge to decide. Landers advises that a divorce court battle can be nasty. He also states the following:
And don't forget, once you're in court, it's a judge who knows very little about you and your family that will make the final decisions about your children, your property, your money and how you live your life.
Though it is the most common divorce alternative, there are many drawbacks to litigation. It can be very expensive, take a long time to reach a settlement, cause a lot stress, negatively affect any children involved and both parties may end up being unhappy with the results.
Speak to a New Hampshire Divorce Attorney
For more information about the divorce process or to learn more about any of these alternatives, contact a New Hampshire divorce lawyer right away. If you are considering collaborative divorce, make sure you understand that only an attorney trained in the collaborative process will be eligible to work with you. To speak with a NH collaborative divorce attorney, call Russman Law today.