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What are my uncontested divorce options?

You have other options for divorce in addition to litigation. These include mediation and collaborative law.

It would be rare for a divorce to have absolutely no contention, stress or heartache. Many Massachusetts residents approach a divorce with the understanding that this is going to be a difficult procedure. Is there any way to get a divorce that may be less contentious?

There are, fortunately, several options to end a marriage that may help couples avoid a drawn-out and costly litigation process. These are known as uncontested divorce methods. It is important for divorcing couples to understand both the benefits and limitations of each type before deciding on one particular option.

What is mediation?

According to the American Bar Association, mediation involves both divorcing spouses sitting with a neutral third party to talk over their dispute. The third party may be a certified mediator, an attorney with mediation experience or a family law attorney who is also certified as a mediator. The benefits of mediation may include the following:

• Reduced conflict, particularly for children

• Private and comfortable setting

• Gives each party the opportunity to learn negotiation and communication skills

Mediation works best when the couple is able to speak to each other respectfully and civilly. In some cases, such as when domestic violence or substance abuse were factors in the marriage, or when either spouse is unable to speak to the other calmly, mediation may not be the best option.

What is collaborative law?

During a collaborative divorce, each spouse will have attorneys. A no-litigation contract is signed before beginning the process, which means that if the couple is unable to reach an agreement and they decide to take the matter to court, they will need to start over with new attorneys. This may give the divorcing couple an incentive to cooperate in order to avoid litigation. Additionally, the couple may consult other professionals, such as child therapists or tax advisors. Collaborative law can be especially beneficial for those with complex property division or parenting disputes.

In addition to the benefits listed above, uncontested divorce is becoming increasingly popular because it can save time and cost a fraction of what a litigated divorce might cost. If you think that an uncontested option sounds right for you, it can help to discuss your situation with an experienced Massachusetts family law attorney, who may be able to help you decide which choice would be best for your particular case. In some instances, litigation may be the most viable option. In this case, an attorney may be able to further advise you of the steps you need to take.

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