If you and your spouse are considering divorce, itís important to know that you have options that donít involve a courtroom or a judge. I am a divorce attorney who practices collaborative law and mediation. These divorce methods are considered alternative dispute resolution processes which are growing in popularity nationwide. Iím on a mission to spread awareness about these types of proceedings because I truly believe out-of-court methods are the best and healthiest ways to divorce. Here are six reasons why you should consider an out-of-court divorce process:

  1. You want options

If you commit to an out-of-court process, you still have options. Depending on your relationship with your spouse and the complexity of your divorce, you may need a method that will best fit your specific needs. There are several out-of-court methods including collaborative law, mediation, and settlement negotiation. 

  • Collaborative Law: You and your spouse each work with your own collaborative divorce attorney. You are each represented by a different collaboratively-trained attorney; however, all parties work together to reach a mutually acceptable resolution. During the process, the spouses and their respective attorneys meet to discuss the best options for the agreement to benefit both spouses.
  • Mediation: You and your spouse work with the same neutral third party. The attorney will sit with both you and your spouse to help you come to a Memorandum of Understanding. During this process, you and your spouse are able to discuss issues that need to be resolved in an amicable way.
  • Negotiation: Settlement through negotiation is another option where you and your spouse agree to work together while staying out of the courtroom. Spouses are typically able to negotiate their settlement on their own, although sometimes an attorney or legal expert can be utilized. While one party wonít get everything they want, they will work toward a settlement that is agreeable to both parties.

  1. You care about the well-being of your children

If youíre divorcing and want to consider the emotional well-being and mental health of your children, out-of-court methods are for you. I am a child of divorce and I know the harmful effects that a litigated divorce can cause. In my efforts to protect other children from life-long trauma, I wrote the book, The Cure for Divorce Culture. Through my research, I address how conflict and divorce impact children. In the book, I share overwhelming statistics on the legacy of litigated conflict, specifically the impact a parentís divorce can have on a child. These findings show complications in personal relationships, drug and alcohol abuse, and depression. 

  • 200% of children are more likely to get divorced when both spouses come from a divorced home
  • 50% more likely to get divorced when one spouse is from a divorced home
  • 18.9% of children living with one parent have a drug or alcohol problem
  • 18.8% of children of divorce suffered from a lifetime of alcohol dependence
  • 30% increase in likelihood of suicide attempts by adult children of divorce
  • 82% of 56 school shooters grew up in dysfunctional families and/or with separated parents

These statistics are based on studies from the traditional divorce litigation model. Choosing alternative dispute resolution like collaborative law, mediation, or negotiation for divorce allows families to avoid their children becoming part of these statistics. 

  1. You want to move on with your life

I know first-hand how difficult divorce can be from a professional and personal perspective. In addition to being a child of divorce and divorce attorney, I am also divorced. When my ex-husband and I decided that we needed to go our separate ways, we chose to use the collaborative process to end our marriage. While we didnít have children, we still chose collaborative divorce for various other reasons. One of which was that both of us just wanted to just move on with our lives.

Through out-of-court methods, the divorce process doesnít have to take years to work through and finalize. If you want to move on and live in a healthier and happier way, collaborative divorce will save you months, if not years. The process itself is known as a system of efficiency. As a collaborative divorce attorney, I want to make sure Iím getting your divorce done as quick as possible, with the utmost quality and care so you can close this chapter of your life. By saving time, collaborative divorce can also save money. A typical out-of-court divorce costs less than litigation because it doesnít require court fees or court system expenses. 

  1. You want to avoid unnecessary conflict

Divorce doesnít have to mean lifelong conflict and continuous dispute. While divorce can certainly be emotional and difficult, it can be done in a healthy way. The process of collaborative divorce utilizes communication, awareness, and mindfulness. It encourages divorcing spouses to settle their divorce through a fair and balanced negotiation that benefits each party. 

You can also avoid unnecessary conflict with collaborative divorce, mediation, and negotiation because these methods are completely private. Since you and your spouse are handling your divorce out-of-court, your divorce isnít treated as a case that can be accessed through publicly available court records. No one will know the details of your divorce except you, your spouse, and your attorneys.

  1. You could use assistance from neutral experts

During a collaborative divorce, you and your spouse have the option to bring in neutral experts. In addition to each spouse being represented by their own separate collaborative-trained attorney, they have the option to create a collaborative divorce team. This may include coaches, mental health professionals, financial advisors, and child specialists. Each professional plays a unique role in the collaborative divorce process.

  • Coaches are used to provide support and guidance to clients in terms of communication, co-parenting, and decision making. These professionals are neutral third parties and meet separately with their clients to identify needs, strengths, and areas of concern.
  • Mental health professionals can be brought in to address potential anxiety and overall mental well-being of those involved in the process. These licensed mental health professionals have training in collaborative divorce.
  • Financial advisors are able to provide adequate understand of the current and future financial situation. They can also help assembly marital property and cash flow spreadsheets that reflect the financial information provided by the spouses. 
  • Child specialists can be brought in for divorcing spouses with children. These experts are able to serve as a neutral professional toward the parents with the intent of providing them with a childís perspective. They work with other specialists involved to strengthen a co-parenting relationship and create a parenting plan.
  1. You are able to make sound decisions

One of the main reasons to avoid a divorce in a courtroom is because you donít need a judge to make your decisions. If you and your spouse agree that you can divorce in a healthy manner, then you donít need litigation. Through roundtable discussions, spouses work together to come to a resolution that is mutually beneficial for both parties. This allows for the empowerment of each spouse to make sound decisions for themselves and their children. 

Please contact me, Ashley-Nicole Russell, at AN|R Law Offices to further discuss divorcing healthy and choosing an out-of-court method. I can help you, your spouse, and your family live better lives after divorce. Click here to read more about my practice, available collaborative services, and the method of divorce. We have three North Carolina locations in Greenville, Raleigh, and Beaufort and are ready to serve you.