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Choosing Divorce Court Over Mediation Or Collaborative Divorce: The Advantages and Disadvantages

For those who have a hostile relationship with their spouse, a divorce court may be a better option than trying to finalize their divorce through mediation or other collaborative efforts.

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Going through a divorce is a stressful time for many people. For most divorcees, their standard of living will change, the custody of their children will change, their assets will change, and their living arrangements will change during and after the divorce is finalized. With all this change, the stress that those going through the divorce process experience can be further compounded if they have a hard time getting along with their spouse. For those who have a hostile relationship with their spouse, a divorce court may be a better option than trying to finalize their divorce through mediation or other collaborative efforts. However, there are also benefits associated with going to divorce medication or using another collaborative divorce process as opposed to going to court. So, when should you opt to go to divorce court rather than use a collaborative process? Below, we discuss the benefits and consequences of choosing divorce court over mediation or another collaborative process.

Advantages of Divorce Court

In New Jersey, couples seeking a divorce will inevitably have to involve the courts to initiate the process. Specifically, according to state law, one spouse must file a complaint in divorce against the other spouse to begin divorce proceedings. In a divorce complaint, a spouse must state a reason for requesting the divorce and whether there are any ancillary issues to be resolved before the divorce can be finalized. These ancillary issues include property rights disputes, child custody, child support, and alimony. Once one of the spouses files a divorce complaint, the other spouse may then file what is called an answer. In an answer, the non-filing spouse may either accept the allegations of the divorce complaint as true or refute them. Thereafter, the parties may decide whether to proceed to trial on the divorce or to use alternative, collaborative means to finalize the divorce.

As stated above, for couples who have a hostile relationship with one another or whose relationship is so strained that they cannot agree on anything, proceeding straight to trial on the divorce may be in their best interests. Proceeding to trial in this instance allows the couple to bypass attempts at mediation or attempts to come to an agreement that would ultimately prove futile. Stated differently, proceeding through the courts at the onset of the divorce action may help some couples secure a divorce more quickly.

Moreover, in rare circumstances, one spouse may not want to get a divorce while the other spouse desires a divorce. In this circumstance, going through divorce mediation may prove fruitless because the opposing party is not likely to change his or her mind about not wanting a divorce. In this instance, proceeding straight to trial may be beneficial to the spouse seeking a divorce because it both saves time in securing a divorce decree and allows for a neutral party of authority to assess the divorce and determine whether to grant or deny the divorce despite not having the consent of the opposing spouse.

Still, in other situations, the couple may agree on most issues, but cannot agree on one or two issues relevant to the divorce. In this case, it is beneficial for couples to go to divorce court on those contested issues rather than all of the issues relevant to the divorce because a neutral party is deciding on the merits of those issues, which can decrease tensions between the couple, and the couple will save money on having to undergo a full-fledged divorce trial.

Disadvantages of Divorce Court

Despite the scenarios listed above, it is generally most advantageous for both parties in a divorce action to utilize divorce mediation or another collaborative process to settle their divorce. This is because divorces can typically be resolved quicker and most cost-effective than if a divorce goes to trial. Use of mediation or another collaborative divorce process generally requires attorneys to perform less work on behalf of clients because they do not have to prepare for trial. Consequently, undergoing mediation or another collaborative process will be cheaper for parties because their respective attorney’s fees will be less than if the action went to trial. Moreover, scheduling a mediation or simply having the attorneys work out an agreement typically can be scheduled sooner than a divorce trial. Accordingly, those who undergo mediation or other collaborative processes can generally resolve issues and get their divorce finalized in a more timely fashion.

Contact a Voorhees Family Law Attorney for a Consultation About Divorce in New Jersey Today

If you are thinking about filing for divorce, or if you have already started the divorce process and are dealing with another matter such as child custody, child support, or division of assets, you need to speak with a qualified attorney. The New Jersey family law attorneys at Davis & Mendelson represent clients throughout the state, including Voorhees, Cherry Hill, Lindenwold, and Collingswood. We understand how challenging this time can be for you, which is why we will fight hard to protect your interests, and the interests of your loved ones, throughout the legal process. Call us at 866-560-9512 or fill out our confidential contact form to schedule a consultation. We have an office conveniently located at 1200 Laurel Oak Road, Suite 101, Voorhees, NJ 08043.

The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.

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