When a couple decides to divorce they may be mentally and emotionally preparing themselves for a trip to the courtroom where a judge will be the ultimate decision-maker with regards to all their divorce legal issues, from property division to child custody to spousal support. Traditional litigation has its benefits, particularly if one spouse suspects the other is being dishonest or if one spouse has been a victim of domestic violence or other forms of abuse. However, many couples divorcing in Kentucky may find that they do not need the heavy hand of a judge to settle their divorce. For these couples, two alternatives to litigation may be of interest to them: collaborative divorce and mediation.
Lets take a look first at collaborative divorce. In a collaborative divorce, like litigation, each spouse will retain his or her own legal counsel experienced in collaborative divorce. Other professionals may also be retained, so long as they remain neutral. In a collaborative divorce each spouse will meet both separately and together with his or her respective attorneys. With the help of their attorneys and other experts, the couple will draft a divorce settlement agreement that must bear the signature of both parties and their legal counsel, which will then be presented to a judge to be made official. If an agreement cannot be made, the couple will then turn to litigation, although they each must retain a new lawyer.
Another option divorcing couples may want to consider is mediation. The role of a mediator is to remain neutral and assist the couple in the creation of an agreed-upon divorce settlement. Divorce mediation may help couples establish a positive basis for future communication by avoiding battles in the courtroom. This may be especially important if the couple has children. Mediation may also give couples a sense of control over the divorce process. In addition, mediation offers couple a means to protect their privacy, since a litigated divorce may be a matter of public record. Some couples going through a high asset divorce may particularly benefit from the privacy and control mediation offers.
Mediation and collaborative divorce are only two options couples may want to consider in their divorce. A Kentucky divorce attorney may help couples determine which divorce process best meets their needs.