Fairy Tale to Divorce, the Alternatives to an Unhappy Ending…

May 31, 2013 | By Steven DiGregorio

It all started well!  Two people meet and fall in love. They foster dreams of sharing an amazing future together.  Unfortunately, this doesn’t always have a happy ending and a decision to move on needs to be made.  But the prospect of divorce can be lengthy and costly to say the least. Take heart, there are options. 

Collaberative Divorce (3)

Those options are referred to as Alternative Dispute Resolutions (ADRs). They take the form of mediation, arbitration and the lesser known collaborative divorce. They are choices that have proven to be an increasingly popular way to resolve some Family Law disputes without having to resort to full-blown litigation. Since they all involve settlement of issues outside the realm of the traditional justice system, they tend to be quicker and more cost-effective. Might one of these options be right for you?  Let’s examine some basics:

  • Mediation – The mediation process features the involvement of a trained mediator who helps couples resolve their legal disputes through negotiation. Mediation is both a voluntary and an informal process.  It is geared toward resolving issues, identifying common ground between the parties and narrowing down the challenges that remain contentious. Should mediation fail, then the parties are still free to proceed to traditional litigation.  This is a good alternative if both parties are of similar mind but just have to iron out terms.
  • Arbitration – In contrast to mediation, arbitration is more similar to a formal court hearing but without all the formality. Each party is given the opportunity to tell his or her side of the story to an impartial arbitrator, who then makes a ruling that is binding on them both. Although it involves a less rigid procedure than going to court, there are still certain protocols in connection with witnesses’ testimony, and with submitting evidence and documents.  This best suits those that cannot easily negotiate but still want a resolution.
  • Collaborative Divorce – The underlying philosophy of the collaborative divorce process is that the parties mutually agree to completely avoid the court process, with the result being a faster, cheaper and more amicable divorce. To achieve this, the parties each sign a contract prior to the start of negotiations, agreeing to full disclosure of information and setting out the principles of the collaborative process. Their respective lawyers – who must be trained specifically in collaborative law – also agree not to press the matter to court. There is a focus throughout the process on cooperation, disclosure, honesty, and the best interests of children. Absolutely this is the best choice for two people who will be communicative and understanding throughout the process.   

Clearly, there is not one solution that fits all. Ironically, just as in the marriage, communication becomes a key factor for any resolution. So be honest with yourself and fair to all parties.  Maybe then in the end, it can still be said, “They lived happily ever after…”

The information herein contained does not constitute legal advice. 

Any decisions or actions should not be made without first consulting an attorney.

For more information contact us at 845.563.0537 or Contact@CompassAMG.com

The author of this blog, Steven M DiGregorio is President of Compass Asset Management Group, LLC and an Investment Advisor Representative with Spire Wealth Management, LLC.

Spire Wealth Management, LLC is a Federally Registered Investment Advisory Firm. Securities offered through an affiliate, Spire Securities, LLC. Member FINRA/SIPC.

Tags: alternatives, arbitration, arbitrator, collaborative, court, dispute resolution, divorce planning, family, lawyer, mediation, mediator, negotiate

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STEVEN M DIGREGORIO is President of Compass Asset Management Group, LLC and an Investment Advisor Representative with Spire Wealth Management, LLC.
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