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Divorce is one of the most traumatic things that can happen in a personís life. Research shows it is the second most stressful life event, following the death of a spouse. Divorce or separation often produces the same deep grief-based emotions as the death of a loved one, including sadness, depression, lethargy, anxiety or anger. This can happen whether the divorce is mutually agreed upon or not, and if one, or both, partners become adversarial, things can become even worse. Non-adversarial methods of resolving disputes, such as mediation and collaborative divorce are helpful, especially when an ongoing relationship is needed, such as for parenting children from the marriage. Counseling can also be extremely beneficial during a divorce to help cope with the many emotions brought on by the stress of the end of a marriage. Divorce laws vary considerably around the world, and also from state to state within the United States.

No Fault Divorce:
Under a no-fault divorce, the dissolution of a marriage does not require an allegation or proof of fault of either party to be shown. Common reasons for no-fault divorce include: incompatibility, irreconcilable differences, and irremediable breakdown of the marriage. Forty-nine states in the United States have adopted no-fault divorce laws. No-fault divorce has been in operation in Australia since 1975 and the only thing the applicant needs to show is separation for 12 months. The divorce application can be made by both parties jointly.

At-fault Divorce:
This used to be the only way to end a marriage, and people who had differences only had the option to separate (and were prevented from legally remarrying). In the United States, only the state of New York still requires fault for a divorce. All other states have adopted no-fault divorce statutes. At-fault divorce can affect the distribution of property, and will allow an immediate divorce, in states where there is a waiting period required for no-fault divorce. Residency requirements vary from state to state, and a spouse may separate, move to a state with divorce laws of their choice, where they can establish residency and then file. However, this typically does not change the state in which property and other issues are decided.

Uncontested Divorce:
It is estimated that more than 95% of divorces in the U.S. are "uncontested," because the two parties are able to come to an agreement (either with or without lawyers/mediators/collaborative counsel) about property, child custody and support issues. When both parties agree and present the court with a fair and equitable agreement, approval of the divorce is almost always guaranteed.

Collaborative Divorce:
In a collaborative divorce, the parties negotiate an agreed resolution with the assistance of attorneys who are trained in the collaborative divorce process. Often the couple will also use the assistance of a neutral financial specialist and/or divorce coach. The parties are empowered to make their own decisions based on their own needs and interests, but with complete information and professional support. Once the collaborative divorce starts, the lawyers are disqualified from representing the parties in a contested legal proceeding, should the collaborative law process end prematurely. Collaborative divorce is usually less expensive than regular divorce or mediation.

Mediated Divorce:
In a mediated divorce, a mediator facilitates the discussion between the husband and wife by assisting with communication and providing information and suggestions to help resolve differences. At the end of the mediation process, the couple has usually developed a tailored divorce agreement that can be submitted to the court. Mediation sessions can include each personís attorney or a neutral attorney or an attorney-mediator who can inform both parties of their legal rights, but does not provide advice to either. Divorce mediators may be attorneys who have experience in divorce cases. Divorce mediation can be significantly less expensive than litigation.



 


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