Understanding your uncontested divorce options

Uncontested divorce options are becoming popular today. There can be many benefits to choosing an amicable divorce over a court battle.

There is much to be said for pursuing an uncontested divorce. Many divorcing couples in New York and elsewhere are opting for uncontested options, which often have numerous benefits over traditional court litigation.

According to U.S. News and World Report, those choosing an amicable split over a litigated battle often experience a dramatic reduction in conflict, which may be particularly beneficial if children are involved. Uncontested divorces are more private than courtroom divorces, they often take much less time and they can cost a fraction of what a litigated divorce might cost. Those who complete an uncontested divorce may also learn valuable skills in communication and negotiation.

Mediation and collaborative law

The following points describe the uncontested divorce options that are most commonly available today.

Mediation - According to the American Bar Association, mediation is a process that involves a neutral third party acting as a negotiator or conflict resolver with the divorcing couple. This neutral party is usually a certified mediator, and sometimes may be an attorney with experience in mediating divorces. Mediators must remain unbiased, but they can make suggestions to assist the couple in resolving their conflict. Each spouse may also have his and her own attorney present either during mediation sessions or before signing the divorce decree, to ensure that the terms are fair.

Collaborative law - A collaborative divorce may be particularly effective for couples with complex property disputes or child custody issues. The process involves each spouse's own attorney and can also include additional professionals, such as child therapists and financial advisors. Each party agrees that they will not litigate. If an agreement cannot be reached, the couple must hire new attorneys. This can provide an incentive to make the process work.

When litigation may be necessary

Unfortunately, uncontested options are not always the best route to take. If one spouse was abusive or had problems with alcohol or drugs, a mediated divorce could be difficult to work through. An amicable divorce may also be problematic if one spouse feels intimidated by the other or is financially disadvantaged. There are also cases in which one or both spouses are unable to cooperate or come to an agreement. In these examples, going to court may be a better option than vainly attempting to make an uncontested divorce work.

Each divorce is unique, and couples should not jump into one option without knowing the factors involved, as well as the advantages and limitations. In any case, an experienced White Plains family law attorney may be able to help a client decide which option may be most effective for his or her situation.