Understanding your divorce process options is a crucial first step when you are considering divorce. Divorce can be an overwhelming experience, but knowing your options can help prepare you. Collaborative Practice Kansas City, with independent professionals serving the entire Kansas City metro area, is here to help.
Divorce process options include contested or litigation divorce, collaborative divorce, divorce mediation, and do-it-yourself divorce. Each is unique, each has pros and cons, and not all divorce process options are appropriate for everyone.
A contested divorce through litigation is the traditional process of bargaining from specific and often conflicting positions, backed by the intervention of an impersonal court of law. After the divorce is finalized, many people are dissatisfied with their litigated outcome, which can lead to further disputes, additional time in court, and additional costs. A litigated divorce process may be a good approach, however, under certain conditions, such as abuse within the marriage or a level of distrust that doesn’t allow for full and fair disclosure of information.
In collaborative divorce, you have a team of professionals working with you to help you and your spouse and family transition using a goals and interests-based approach rather than taking up opposing positions. It typically provides greater resources to the family during the process than the other options. Collaborative divorce works to settle your case respectfully, transparently and privately. Divorces that use the collaborative model frequently require less time, money and emotional currency to be spent. This process often results in greater satisfaction and deeper resolution for divorcing couples, as well as healthier outcomes for children, so you are less likely to go to court in the future. Collaborative divorce only works with full, mutual disclosure by both parties, and with each spouse committed to working toward a fair and equitable agreement.
In divorce mediation, you and your spouse use a neutral third party to assist you in reaching agreements that meet your needs and the needs of your children without the financial and emotional cost of a court battle. If you use mediation without attorneys, you both may be responsible for preparing all the required forms for the court for the divorce to be legal and binding. You and your spouse typically must appear in court for your final hearing to have your agreement approved and the divorce judgment granted.
Pro Se Divorce
In a do-it-yourself or “pro se” divorce, you and your spouse represent yourselves before the court and do not hire attorneys to counsel you on your legal rights or provide the kind of legal documentation necessary to make your divorce legal and binding. You and your spouse must either work out an agreement together or present your legal disputes to an impersonal court that will expect you to know and follow proper judicial procedure. DIY divorce generally can work when you both agree on practically everything and your issues are very simple such as in cases with little property and no children, but can be difficult for those who have little experience with legal documents, vocabulary, and procedures.
For help understanding which divorce process options best suit your specific situation, click here or call Collaborative Practice Kansas City at 913-380-2560.