Advantages of Alternative Dispute Resolution
Sometimes divorce litigation in the courtroom is the only option for a divorcing couple, especially if there are matters of serious disagreement – if hostility and strong distrust exist between the parties, or if past emotional and/or physical abuse was a factor in the relationship.
However, for cases that fall outside that domain, out-of-court methods for resolving issues in divorce are becoming increasingly popular and fall under the banner of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). The two most common forms of ADR include divorce mediation and collaborative divorce.
Divorce mediation involves an impartial third-party mediator who facilitates communication between the parties and offers suggestions for creative problem solving, enabling both parties to reach a voluntary agreement. Mediators are not there to judge or determine who’s right or wrong. If a settlement cannot be reached, the couple still has the option of litigation.
Collaborative divorce is even less formal than divorce mediation. There is no mediator at all; their attorney accompanies each party, and meetings take place at a neutral location. Couples can work together in a positive, results-focused setting to come to terms on matters of child custody and visitation, child support, and division of property. Experts in accounting and asset valuation may be called in to assist with technical aspects. If the couple cannot come to an agreement and decide to go the litigation route, their respective lawyers cannot be retained for the court case.
ADR processes are generally less adversarial, quicker, and more cost-effective ways to deal with divorce. They also avoid the stress of having to step into a courtroom and the uncertainty inherent in a trial.