Simply the word ‘divorce’ causes stress and anxiety. It conjures concern about the expenses, dread about impending arguments and the fear of leaving your fate in the hands of a judge in a courtroom.

Fortunately, there are a few alternative options for divorce that allow for separating couples to steer clear of the court and find resolutions that work for all parties. These options generally cost less than the process of litigation and give you more active control over the outcome.

The positives of collaboration

Collaborative law involves four people, two clients and two attorneys, in a room together working to find an agreeable outcome for all parties. It includes a written agreement by all four people to not go to court. Agreeing not to litigate takes a substantial amount of stress off of the proceedings. Attorneys work as advocates for their clients as they negotiate to find solutions to each issue that arises. When needed, mental health professionals and financial consultants join the negotiations as neutral parties.

The benefits of mediation

Mediation involves the use of a neutral third party trained to resolve disputes. The mediator facilitates discussions and negotiations. There are cases where courts refer couples to mediation, but it always must be a voluntary choice. If a resolution is not found through mediation, litigation is the next step.

The major difference between the two

Both of these options require a willingness to compromise and negotiate with the other side in order to successfully find a resolution. The difference lies in the participants. With collaborative law, each side has an attorney helping them negotiate. With mediation, attorneys are not always involved.

Divorce is rarely a happy occasion, but it does not have to be mentally and emotionally damaging. Alternatives to litigation offer healthier options to end marriages while increasing the odds of an amicable relationship between the parties after the fact.