TIPS FOR MINIMIZING COSTS AND CONFLICT IN DIVORCE
You’re not alone if you’ve hesitated to file for divorce because you’re worried about how it might affect your finances. It’s true there are numerous costs and fees associated with the process of ending a marriage in court.
However, there are some practical tips for minimizing costs and conflict in the divorce process.
Alternative dispute resolution
If you and your spouse get along reasonably well, you may be able to keep expenses to a minimum by agreeing to resolve disputes in a confidential negotiation setting outside a courtroom. Forms of alternative dispute resolution include:
- Mediation: Divorce mediation is a good option for spouses who can amicably discuss their differences with a willingness to compromise and cooperate to find solutions that meet everyone’s needs and protect the interests of those involved, especially their children.
- Arbitration: This process involves an arbitrator, who issues a final ruling after hearing both sides of the case. Similar to litigation, arbitration provides an opportunity for testimony; however, it takes place in a private setting and you cannot appeal the arbitrator’s final decisions.
- DIY: Some people purchase do-it-yourself divorce kits online; however, in trying to resolve legal matters on your own, you run the risk of serious missteps related to property division and child custody. Many people who take the DIY approach later wish they hadn’t.
Most divorcing spouses in California find the process a lot less stressful with the help of an experienced family law attorney. You could save a lot of time and money by directing your questions and concerns to someone who is well-versed in the laws concerning divorce, child custody, property division and alimony issues.
Changing course mid-way through the process
If you and your spouse choose mediation to try to obtain a swift, low-cost divorce and you find it’s not working, you can convert your case to litigation. In a similar way, you may be involved in litigation that you want to end and can therefore agree to resolve any outstanding disagreements out of court, such as in a mediation or arbitration setting.