Getting a divorce can be extremely difficult under any circumstances, as you contemplate ending a commitment that you made and what it will mean for your future and that of your family. The thought of having to go to trial and discuss your personal matters in front of the court can add even more anxiety and stress. The good news is that despite what you see in many dramatic media portrayals, the vast majority of divorces are settled without having to go to trial. There are several options that you can explore to resolve your divorce without the time, money, and invasion of privacy that a contested court case often entails.
If the decision to divorce is mutual and you and your spouse are willing to cooperate, chances are good that you can avoid litigation with a trial and instead reach a divorce agreement through one of the following alternative dispute resolutions:
Cooperative divorce: In a cooperative divorce, you and your spouse work together to negotiate the terms of your divorce agreement, including the division of property, parenting plan, child support, and spousal support. You can choose to have these discussions without an attorney, but it is a good idea to hire one so he or she can provide you with sound legal guidance throughout the process.
Mediation: In mediation, a neutral third party, often a divorce attorney, works with you and your spouse to help you identify and understand each other’s needs and come to a collaborative agreement on the terms. Unlike a public trial, mediation occurs behind closed doors and allows you to maintain your family’s privacy.
Arbitration: Arbitration differs from mediation in that the third-party arbitrator issues a judgment after listening to the perspectives of both spouses. You do not have as much personal control over the outcome, but this can be a good option if you and your spouse are having trouble reaching an agreement but still want to maintain privacy compared to a public trial.
There are situations in which cooperative divorce, mediation, and arbitration are not possible, and a trial may be the only option. If you and your spouse refuse to communicate and cooperate, if you have major disagreements on the terms of the divorce, or if your marriage has a history of domestic violence, you may need to prepare for a trial and hire an attorney who can help you protect your rights and secure a favorable outcome.
If you know that a divorce is in your future, hiring an attorney early on can help you ensure that you are acting in your best interests and give you a better chance of achieving your desired outcomes. At SBK Law Group, we will give you our best advice to help you settle your divorce without a trial, but our experienced attorneys can present a strong case for you at court if the need arises. Contact us today at 630-427-4407 to speak with a DuPage County divorce lawyer who will listen to your needs and help you work through this difficult time.