Couples who have reached the point where they are no longer happy together have options regarding how best to proceed with ending the marriage. The traditional concept of two attorneys battling it out in court is only one of a handful of approaches available for marriage dissolution. Achieving divorce without court is possible if spouses work together to reach a mutual agreement.
The divorce process in California depends on whether it’s a contested or uncontested divorce. In an uncontested divorce both spouses agree on issues such as division of assets and debts, child custody, child support and spousal support. In this case, the entire process can be resolved out of court.
A divorce attorney, who is experienced in family law and facilitating out-of-court agreements, can help you understand what to expect and guide you through the necessary steps.
Amicable Divorce Solutions
There are several ways to get divorced without going to court, and you can choose the one that best suits your situation. Divorce mediation is one of the most popular methods.
A mediator, generally a family law attorney with much experience, can assist a couple in reviewing all aspects of their divorce. They are a neutral party working with the couple through negotiations to come to a settlement agreement that represents their best interests.
Another option is attorney represented uncontested divorce, which is achieved when you and your spouse each retain your own attorney. Each attorney represents their client but the goal is still to work with the other side in an amicable manner to hammer out an agreement. This process is more costly than mediation as you are paying for two attorneys rather than splitting the cost of a mediator. For larger estates this approach can provide more comfort as the individuals know that they have representation which is looking out for their individual interests. Furthermore, if the talks break down and you end up in court, there is no need to hire new attorneys, as there would be in mediation.
In some cases where a couple may be able to come to an agreement on most issues, but are in disagreement on a few, a private judge may be the route to go. Both parties will be represented by their own attorney. But instead of having to wait for the courts to litigate or worry that the judge will not pay appropriate attention to the most important nuances, a private judge adjudicates the process. As the court system is typically slow this option moves a case along faster and allows all parties to have more control.
Taking the First Step
If you are experiencing some of the common warning signs of divorce, it’s good to know what you have options going forward. Sometimes couples stay together simply because they’re afraid of the difficulties that may arise during a divorce. While deciding to get divorced can be an emotionally fraught time in your life, the legal dissolution of your marriage doesn’t have to be.
Taking a collaborative approach can reduce conflict, save money and be less time-consuming than going to court. If you’re looking to retain an Orange County divorce attorney for mediation or alternative amicable divorce solutions, contact Buncher Family Law for a consultation.