Collaboration, Mediation, or Litigation: Which is Right for You?

If you are facing a legal separation or divorce from your spouse in the Charlotte region of North Carolina, coming to this decision was likely a long a difficult process. That being said, there are still many more decisions that you and your spouse will need to make before finalizing your legal separation and divorce. One fundamentally important decision you must make is how you want to come to your ultimate divorce settlement. There are several options available to you in Davidson. These include collaborative divorce, divorce mediation, and traditional divorce litigation. The type of resolution method and approach that is best for you will depend on the particular facts and circumstances of your marital dispute. An experienced family law attorney can help you consider your options so that you can decide which is best for your family. While each marital dispute is as unique as the parties involved, more and more couples across the country are opting to explore the option of collaborative divorce to solve their marital disputes.

Divorce: Choosing the Right Method for You

More often than not, the couple’s particular preferences are the force behind whether they want their legal separation and eventual divorce to go through traditional divorce litigation, divorce mediation, or collaborative divorce. Below are the main characteristics of each method.

  • Traditional litigation divorce features: When a couple chooses judicial intervention to resolve their marital dispute, this is commonly referred to as traditional litigation divorce. When a couple is unable to resolve their marital dispute through other alternative means, the litigation process is generally used in North Carolina. In Mecklenburg County, the traditional litigation divorce process involves a family law judge who makes decisions on all issues relevant to the couple’s divorce. These divorce-related decisions are set out in a written court order, commonly referred to as a final decree of divorce. A court’s final divorce decree is legally binding. In other words, each spouse must comply with the order’s terms as they are written; this requirement is true whether or not both or one of the spouses agrees to those terms or not. Noe surprisingly, traditional litigation divorce in North Carolina can be extremely stressful, time consuming, and expensive. Traditional litigation divorce puts the family’s dispute in the public eye as it the records are accessible through North Carolina’s court system.
  • Divorce mediation features: On the contrary, divorce mediation does not necessarily involve attorneys, as the law does not require it. In divorce mediation the couple attempts to come to an agreed-upon solution on all issues involved in the divorce. This is done with the help of the mediator — a third-party neutral — who helps negotiate a divorce settlement. Unlike a judge, the mediator has no power to decide the case. Also, unlike traditional divorce litigation, the parties do not hire individual attorneys to engage in an adversarial dispute. Notably, the mediator’s role is not to provide legal advice but, rather, to help facilitate an agreement suitable to both spouses. Moreover, divorce mediation is often less formal than litigation and collaborative divorce and can be a very appealing alternative in contrast to the high expense often associated with litigated divorce resolutions.
  • Collaborative divorce features: Collaborative divorce is a combination of traditional litigation divorce and divorce mediation available as a resolution in the Charlotte region. During the collaborative divorce process, a North Carolina court is not involved until a family law judge must approve the parties’ agreed-upon settlement before a final divorce decree is issued. Collaborative divorce requires an individual attorney for each spouse and the couple may also jointly hire professional, non-legal, experts. Before even engaging in the collaborative divorce process in Davidson, all the parties, including the attorneys and non-legal professionals, enter into and sign a written agreement not to go to court. Should the marital dispute not be resolved during the collaboration process, the attorneys and any other non-legal professionals consulting on the matter must withdraw their representation. While the couple may choose to pursue litigation, they must do so with new family law attorneys providing incentive to all involved for this to not transpire. A collaborative divorce is typically less formal, more efficient, and less expensive than traditional divorce litigation.
Divorce in North Carolina

If you and your spouse think the collaborative divorce process might be right for you in Mecklenburg County, Iredell County or the Union County area of North Carolina or anywhere else in the surrounding areas, contact the experienced family law attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC.