FOUR DIVORCE PARADIGMS

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"Kitchen Table" Divorce Mediation Litigation Collaborative Divorce
Spouses prepare and file paperwork on their own


Highly recommended that each party have an attorney review the final documents
Uses a neutral third-party to help the couple reach an agreement

Parties may or may not be represented by attorneys

Not binding

Confidential

Sometimes it does not resolve all of the issues
Each party is represented by an attorney

Whatever is not resolved in mediation is decided by a judge in court

Most expensive option

Only deals with legal issues; exacerbates emotional issues
Team approach

Both parties are represented by attorneys trained in the Collaborative Divorce process

Seeks a win/win for the whole family

Stays out of court

Team can include: Coaches, Mental Health Professionals, Attorneys, Financial Specialists, Realtor, Appraiser, Mortgage Professional and Child Specialists
Works Best when the Parties are: Works Best when the Parties are: Works Best when the Parties are: Works Best when the Parties are:
Agreeable

Able to consider the best interests of the whole family

Little to no assets

Parties have similar incomes; no maintenance needed

Able to resolve conflict well
Agreeable

Able to consider the best interests of the whole family

Needing a third-party reality check

Able to resolve conflict
Adversarial and hostile

Unwilling to compromise
Open to full and honest disclosure

Solution-oriented and forward-thinking

Committed to reaching an agreement
Pros: Pros: Pros: Pros:
Least expensive

Fastest option
Cheaper than litigation

Minimizes damage of going to court

Minimizes conflict

Faster than litigation

More discrete; mediation is private, litigation is public

Gives parties control of the outcome
The court’s timetable will keep things moving forward

May be necessary if the other party is unreasonable

May be necessary for cases where there are safety concerns, abuse, or drug/alcohol addiction
Parties agree not to go to court

Flexibility; customize the agreement to meet the needs of the whole family and considers long-term financial implications

The team of neutral professionals makes this a comprehensive approach to divorce

Addressing financial and emotional issues is built into the process

Quicker and less expensive than litigation

Facilitates post-divorce healing and recovery
Cons: Cons: Cons: Cons:
Mistakes can easily be made

Doesn’t address long-term financial consequences
Outcome can be unfair to one spouse

Mediator can be inexperienced or biased

Can reinforce patterns and allow one party to dominate the other

No guarantee that a settlement will be reached

Issues can be overlooked; agreement may be incomplete
Judge who knows very little about you and your family makes the final decisions

Most expensive option and time-consuming

Can be more emotionally detrimental to you and your children

All information is public
Parties lose their attorneys if they do not settle
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