Three of the most common ways a divorce can be approached are through Mediation, Collaborative Divorce or Litigation.
Mediation refers to any instance in which a third party helps both sides reach an agreement. Mediation can be effective only if both sides are willing to work together. Cases where there is a history of domestic violence may not be right for mediation. All documents prepared for mediation and all matters discussed during mediation are confidential. Mediation may be the most cost- effective option as only one attorney is required. Mediation may also be the quickest of all options as matters may be settled in just a few sessions with the mediator. The mediator prepares the Judgment which, when signed and filed with the court, becomes an enforceable court order.
Collaborative Divorce can best be described as a method of practicing law in which attorneys from both sides agree to assist the clients to resolve conflicts by employing cooperative techniques rather than adversarial strategies and litigation. Collaborative Divorce is best if both sides agree to work together, but feel they need their own attorneys to help them do so. All the documents prepared for a collaborative divorce as well as all the matters discussed during the process are confidential. This option may be more costly than mediation because both sides must hire their own attorney. In the end, attorneys prepare the Judgment which, when signed and filed with the court, becomes an enforceable court order.
Litigation takes place when both sides cannot work together. This is the least private process because, generally, all pleadings are public records. This is probably the most expensive of the three methods, too. Litigation is also the slowest option. Many documents must be filed with the court and when all the documents are ready, a judge must be available to hear the case. There is also the possibility of appeals, which may drag on the case. In the end, the judge issues the final decision.