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Choosing the Divorce Process That is Right For You

When you are preparing for a divorce, it is important to know that the process can be different for different people. In the past, divorce only existed through litigation in a courtroom with the assistance of a judge. However, this method may not work for all people. It is because of this that new methods of divorce now exist for couples to use in order to reach their desired results. In order to choose the process that is right for you, it is important to know your options.


A divorce through litigation starts when a person files for divorce and their spouse is served with papers. The individual who is served then files an appearance in court and the process can begin. After divorce papers are filed, the “discovery” process takes place. This is a formal process in which each spouse files interrogatories, document production requests, and requests other information on their spouse. Both parties are then required to answer these requests. If spouses are unable to reach an agreement regarding their marital issues, they may be required to go to trial where a judge makes these decisions for them.


One of the more common methods of divorce is mediation. This is a process in which a neutral third-party helps a couple resolve their marital issues outside of a courtroom. The process typically begins with information gathering. However, unlike litigation, it is voluntary and there is no formal “discovery” process. Once the mediator has the necessary information to help the spouses, the three parties can communicate the issues present and work towards resolving them. When the settlements are made, the mediator can write up the terms into an agreement to bring to court for a judge to sign. Only then are they granted a divorce.

Collaborative Divorce

During the process of a collaborative divorce, the couple works with their lawyers and other divorce professionals to resolve their marital issues. Other professionals may include divorce coaches, child specialists, divorce financial planners, and more. Something to consider with a collaborative divorce is the attorney withdrawal provision. This prohibits the attorneys from representing the respective spouses in the event that the collaborative process does not work for them. In these cases, the spouses must start over again in litigation with different attorneys.


The process of arbitration is similar to litigation, however, it is more informal. The differences between the two are that during litigation, the couple’s marital issues are determined by a judge. During arbitration, these matters are handled by an arbitrator. This is not the same as a mediator, as an arbitrator has the power to make decisions for the couple. It is important to know that spouses can choose their own arbitrator and agree to the rules of arbitration before it begins. This can prove to be difficult, as spouses often have a hard time agreeing on an arbitrator. 

Contact our Firm

If you need an experienced legal team to guide you through your divorce, contact Townsend, Tomaio & Newmark L.L.C today.