How to Complete a Friendly Divorce

By Jennifer Williams

It's not unheard of that two people decide to forego the screaming, crying and gnashing of teeth that often goes hand-in-hand with divorce. It is possible, however, that two people can agree to leave their marriage with maturity, and preserve what they can of their friendship -- either for themselves or their children. Once you've made the decision to move forward in the spirit of cooperation, some approaches exist for you to choose from that may help you complete a friendly divorce.

Stages and Decisions

Generally, the stages of a divorce -- and the decisions to be made at each stage -- are the same, regardless of whether you're using lawyers, mediators or doing it yourself. Understand that this is what you'll have to weather in a non-confrontational manner to maintain your friendly divorce. Generally, there will be a support and custody hearing after the petition is filed, in which temporary spousal support custody and child support is ordered. Next is discovery, in which each spouse completes a financial affidavit and answers questions that the other spouse has submitted. Next, is the property settlement and parenting plan. Usually, each spouse drafts a proposal, the two documents are compared, and the disagreements negotiated until an agreement is reached.

Mediated Divorce

In a mediated divorce, a professional mediator may help the spouses come to agreements at each stage of the divorce, and in some cases, they prepare all necessary paperwork for the court. A mediated divorce can be perfect for spouses who are committed to a friendly divorce, but who know they'll need professional guidance. The mediator may be hired before any lawyers are retained and before any papers filed in court. The mediator applies his specialized training from the beginning of the process to keep the spouses focused, and the process moving.

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Collaborative Divorce

Spouses pursuing a collaborative divorce may use lawyers, but both spouses and lawyers agree that the spouses will negotiate their issues in a fair and non-adversarial manner, in the best interests of any minor children and without litigation. The lawyers involved agree to withdraw from representation if either spouse in the collaborative process does not work and the spouses decide to go to court.

Negotiated Divorce

A negotiated divorce works much like a collaborative divorce. The spouses commit to negotiate all issues outside the court process, relying, instead on their commitment to fairness and the expertise of their lawyers to see negotiations to a successful end. The primary difference between a negotiated divorce and a collaborative divorce is that each lawyer in a negotiated divorce may continue to represent his respective client spouse if negotiations break down and the spouses decide to go to court.

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Divorce Mediation Vs. Lawyers
 

References

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What to Expect at ERC for an Arizona Divorce

In Arizona, many couples avoid the cost and uncertainty of going to trial to obtain a divorce by attending an Early Resolution Conference. Arizona courts may require couples to attend an ERC, where a neutral third party assists the couple in figuring out a divorce settlement both spouses can live with. When the couple cannot agree, it will be up to the judge to determine the terms of the divorce.

What Happens in a Divorce Mediation in Miami, Florida?

Peace is to war what mediation is to litigation. When you or your spouse files for divorce in Miami, you have the option of fighting it out in court or working it out in a cooperative fashion. Working it out can save you money and lessen the emotional damage that often results from a contested divorce. Accordingly, the Miami-Dade County courts frequently order mediation before trial to give the parties a chance to come to an agreement they both find satisfactory. If you are required to mediate, or request mediation, the mediation division of the county court system will supply an in-house mediator, although you are free to ask for your own private mediator, pending approval by your spouse.

Does Mediation Mean You Are Divorced?

Mediation can help couples reach agreement on the terms of their divorce, avoiding long court fights and eliminating cost. However, mediation is only one part of the divorce process. Though couples can agree on issues like child custody, property division and alimony with the help of a mediator, they must go to court to finalize their divorce.

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