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Collaborating Through Your Divorce

It may be difficult to believe that divorce rates are the lowest they have been since the 1970s. Conversely, marriage rates in The United States are the lowest they have been in almost 150 years, according to data from the National Center for Health Statistics. This correlation could point to a more thoughtful marrying and divorcing population.

More couples than ever are learning that divorce does not need to be a drawn-out legal battle; that there are alternative methods to dissolving a union than what they have seen on television or witnessed in their own lives. Two common ways people avoid the time and monetary costs of a standard divorce is through mediation and a process known as collaborative divorce.

Mediation allows cooler heads to prevail

If you and your spouse are willing to speak rationally with each other, mediation is an effective way for you both to come to agreeable terms regarding your divorce. You, your spouse, and your attorneys will meet with a mediator – a neutral third party.

Mediators help facilitate conversations and negotiations on the terms of your divorce, property dispersal, and any other issues you may be facing. A critical element of mediation to remember is that both parties must be willing to take negatives as well as positives. For example, you may have to agree to take your spouse’s credit card debt, but in return be awarded ownership of your family home.

Mediators are not judges. Many times, they are attorneys with considerable experience, training, and insight on family law, although an attorney license is not required to be a mediator in Wisconsin.

Another option: collaborative divorce

As we discussed in a previous post, a collaborative divorce is another option for those seeking an alternative to litigation. This is a process in which the soon-to-be ex-spouses work with their attorneys as a team to resolve their issues and develop a plan for the future.

Some of the primary benefits of this non-confrontational approach include:

  • You can resolve your issues outside of court, meaning you have control
  • You set the pace, not a judge
  • You can make sure everyone’s needs are considered, especially those of your children
  • You can avoid the stress of a lengthy court battle

If you are facing divorce and are willing to collaborate with your spouse, you may be able to come to mutually beneficial solutions with one of the options listed above.