When you decide to divorce, there are important decisions to be made – about child custody, parenting time, child support, college costs for children, alimony, and division of marital assets and debts.
When people think about divorce, however, they often picture going to court where a judge makes all the decisions. And it’s not a pretty picture. I get it. And as a family lawyer for over 20 years, I agree. But having a judge make decisions in divorce is only one of several options you have – it’s also the most costly and unpredictable. Below are 3 alternative options that are generally more efficient and less expensive than having a judge decide in court:
Most New Jersey divorces are settled out of court by mutual agreement. Agreements often result from negotiations between spouses with input and advice from their lawyers.
And when you have children, it’s generally much better for them when you can agree on these decisions without involving the court. Out of court negotiation is generally quicker and much less expensive than having a judge make decisions for you.
2. Specialized professionals or experts
When there is a business or real property to be valued and divided, it’s often helpful to bring in a specialized professional or expert, like an accountant or appraiser, to independently value the asset.
Significantly, I know of several accountants and mental health professionals trained and skilled in mediation techniques who can also help facilitate agreements between spouses.
3. Divorce mediation
Divorce mediation is a confidential non-binding dispute resolution process. It is a structured negotiating process facilitated by the mediator, a neutral third party. To find out more about divorce mediation, check out this post.
The bottom line? Just as every relationship is unique, every divorce is unique. There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to resolving your divorce. The specific circumstances of your case determine what methods are best suited to resolve your issues.
That’s why when a client first comes to me, we do a strategy session. We identify the issues to be resolved and the decisions to be made. I then design the most efficient, and cost-effective roadmap most likely to achieve that client’s goals for the future.
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