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The Divorce Process: Which Method Is Right for You?

This series of articles is designed to help you start your divorce process. In this article, we discuss what to consider when you start thinking about divorce, including the different methods of divorce available.

Thinking about Divorce
To divorce or not to divorce is a complicated question that compels people to take stock of every aspect of their lives. The divorce process can be forced upon you or can begin at your own initiative. There are times people fall out of love and mutually decide to separate and divorce. Other circumstances, such as spousal abuse, substance abuse or adultery, may compel a person to weigh his or her options about how life should be – now and in the future.

Regardless of the circumstances, making the decision to pursue a divorce is a difficult emotional step and can be a challenging financial one. Children must be considered. Short-term and long-term living arrangements and finances must be considered.

Selecting a divorce attorney means choosing a trusted advisor you will need to rely upon to help you make significant short-term and long-term decisions concerning support, child custody and property division.

Methods of Divorce
At Stein Sperling, we believe it is important to educate our clients on the various methods of dispute resolution that can be used to bring your marriage to a conclusion. Our attorneys are trained and have experience with mediation, negotiation, collaborative law and, of course, traditional adversarial litigation.

Your first meeting with any attorney should include a discussion of the available methods of dispute resolution, including the likelihood that your spouse might engage in alternatives to litigation. Before proceeding with mediation or collaborative divorce, clients often consider whether there is any trust left in the relationship, whether assets have been hidden, whether the other party will maintain his or her financial status quo and be fully transparent in financial disclosures.

Choosing an alternative to litigation for dispute resolution does not guarantee that a successful outcome will be reached without having to turn to the courts. The actual needs, wishes, wants and demands of each party, both financially and as to the children, need to be evaluated regularly as a case progresses.

Decisions about property division, alimony, child custody and child support will come after you and your attorney have an opportunity to review all of the facts of your case. These include factors, such as fault, that contribute to the breakup of the marriage, the financial needs of each party, the children’s needs, the length of the marriage, who made financial contributions, etc. 

In the next article of this series, we’ll discuss what to expect from the first meeting with your divorce attorney, as well as ways to prepare for the meeting to make it as productive as possible.