5 Ways to Leave Your Lover
Singer/Songwriter Paul Simon taught us in the 1970s that there are 50 ways to leave your lover, but legally speaking, there are five primary methods of reclaiming your single status.
If you’re contemplating divorce, we’re here to help you make a new plan, Stan (or Fran). Read on to learn five legal approaches to get yourself free.
1. DIY Divorce
The do-it-yourself route can help you save time, money and stress if your divorce is simple and your spouse doesn’t contest the split. Couples who don’t have children, don’t own a home or have a great deal of other assets, and who have the time to invest a bit of effort into gathering the necessary information online and through the court system might choose this route.
DIY doesn’t have to mean that you forego the divorce lawyer. An experienced attorney can help you save money and time by pointing you in the right direction while you do the work yourself.
Although there are benefits to this method, there are some downsides, too. Check out our article on the frustration, loss of rights and potential for greater expense of DIY divorce before embarking on the DIY journey.
Mediation is a type of alternative dispute resolution that uses a neutral third party to help you and your spouse reach a voluntary resolution.
This can be a good option when children and property are involved, and the spouses get along well enough to communicate effectively and compromise. The mediator helps ensure good communication, and helps a divorcing couple explore legal and practical options to reach a settlement.
Collaborative divorce is similar to mediation, but it provides for greater communication with the divorcing couple, their attorneys and other professionals as needed. The approach is less of a battle that is won or lost, and more of a problem-solving approach. This method typically saves time and money, and it takes place in a more informal setting than a courtroom.
Read our article on collaborative divorce to learn whether it’s right for you.
4. Private Judge
We discussed the private judge concept in a recent article about the Brad and Angelina Pitt divorce process. Although this celebrity breakup might be the first time many people have heard of this method of obtaining a divorce, it is an avenue that almost anyone can use.
Private judges tend to be retired judges, but they also can be practicing attorneys. They are agreed upon by both spouses to rule on family matters.
Going the private judge route can result in a quicker resolution because hearings can be scheduled sooner. You also gain the benefit having freedom to select a private judge experienced in family law. Going through the public court system can leave experience levels of judges up to chance, because they are appointed to specific areas. That can result in having a judge preside over your case who is learning as he/she goes because of a lack of family law background.
This is perhaps the most well-known divorce method, and it has a reputation for being messy and contentious because each spouse typically is represented by attorneys who fight for their clients’ interest.
Litigated divorces can be costly – financially and emotionally. They also tend to take longer than other divorce methods.
The first step in a litigated divorce is to file a divorce petition in the county where you and/or your spouse live, and to have your spouse served that petition. Your spouse must respond to the petition.
You may need to have your attorney request a hearing for temporary orders to address issues that cannot wait until a final family court decision is made regarding your divorce. Examples include child custody, spousal support, and issues regarding the family home.
Litigated divorces include a discovery period, in which facts are gathered that are needed to ultimately reach a final settlement. This could include information on financial assets, property ownership, business dealings and life insurance.
Depositions and a trial will follow before one of the attorneys prepares a final divorce decree that must be signed by a judge.
Litigated divorces can stretch out for months or years.
“We are experienced in all of these areas and are happy to represent clients throughout the process that best suits their needs,” says Carlsbad attorney John Griffith, who is a certified family law specialist.
Call today to schedule a consultation if you would like to learn more about any of these divorce approaches.