If your marriage has gotten to the point where you are seriously considering a divorce, you’re likely confused, sad, and disappointed. Depending on the circumstances, you might also be angry. When you’re in this mindset, it can be difficult to weigh all of your options carefully so that you can make the best decisions for yourself and for your children. The process of dissolving a marriage is not cut-and-dried; the decisions that you and your spouse make can make it go quickly or take longer, and it can be relatively inexpensive or cost you both a lot of money. Here are some considerations to keep in mind as you evaluate your options when it comes to your divorce.
Is Divorce the Right Option for You?
If you are still in the “thinking about it” phase, you might be considering a divorce as only one option. Other options for those in unsatisfying marriages include marriage counseling and a trial separation. Of couples who separate, about 10 percent end up reconciling. Infidelity in a marriage is a deal-breaker for some couples, but others decide to stay together. Abuse generally results in a divorce for the safety of the abused spouse and also for the children. Of course, there are many other situations, some more serious than others, that can lead to divorce; some of these can be overcome, depending on the people involved and their desires. If you and your spouse are ambivalent about things when considering a divorce and if it’s is the right option for you, speak to a marriage counselor.
Types of Divorce
If you do decide that a divorce is the right option, you will have several types of marriage dissolution to consider. The factors that go into your decision will include how much money you have to spend, whether there are sizable assets involved, whether you have children, whether you agree on who should get the house and how custody arrangements should be, how much divorce help you might need, and so on. Here are some of the most common types of divorce and who each type might be best for.
An Internet divorce is one where you and your spouse would use an Internet website or other software to go through the various forms needed to complete your divorce. You’d fill them out together or separately and then follow the instructions for filing for divorce in your state. This is a good option for those considering a divorce who want to maintain a high level of control over their divorce settlement. If you agree on most or all things pertaining to the divorce, this is a good way to save money and to get your divorce completed as quickly as allowed in your state.
One potential problem with an Internet divorce is that you won’t have any legal counsel, so what seems fair at the moment when considering a divorce might end up not being in your (or your spouse’s) best interest. Also, if you make a mistake calculating child support or alimony, this can become a problem later.
A do-it-yourself, or DIY, divorce is an option when considering a divorce that is similar to an Internet divorce in that you and your spouse will maintain a high level of control over the proceedings and you will need to work together to come up with solutions. It shares many of the same advantages and pitfalls of an Internet divorce. One additional potential problem, however, is that whereas an Internet divorce supplies you with forms and asks you pertinent questions, a DIY divorce generally doesn’t. It’s up to you and your spouse to do the research necessary to be sure that you are filing the correct paperwork and thinking through all of the issues.
During a divorce mediation, you’ll meet with a neutral third party, called a mediator. This mediator will walk you and your spouse through the issues that you need to decide upon. He or she can help you put together a parenting plan and also come to an agreement on how assets should be split, who should retain ownership of the home, and so on. It’s important to understand that a mediator will not be representing either of you; instead, they will be helping both of you advocate for yourselves. Using a mediator when considering a divorce is a good option if you and your spouse agree on some things but need some help coming to an agreement on others.
Considering A Divorce With a Lawyer
If there are large assets involved, if you had a prenuptial agreement, or if you and your spouse are having a very hard time coming to an agreement when it comes to the house, child custody, or anything else when considering a divorce, then a lawyer might be an option worth considering. You would each have your own lawyers and those lawyers would be representing each of you. One major downfall to having a divorce with a lawyer is that legal fees are very expensive. The advantages are that you will get legal advice that will be made with your best interest in mind and that you will not have to communicate with your spouse, but can do so through an intermediary. The latter point is good for couples who have a lot of animosities or where abuse was an issue.
Divorce With a Legal Resource Group
A legal resource group is another option when you are considering a divorce. This is a group made up of attorneys and other legal professionals who will walk you through the process of filing your paperwork, communicating with your spouse, and going through the court system. They will provide you with the resources you need to represent yourself in court. One major advantage of using a legal resource group, sometimes called a legal advocacy group, is that you will enjoy many of the perks associated with a lawyer-driven divorce without the high fees. If your divorce is moderately complicated, this type of divorce can save you money and still help you achieve your goals in terms of fairness and meeting your own and your children’s best interests.
Going through a divorce is stressful, and there’s no need to do so alone. Contact National Family Solutions to find out whether a divorce assisted by a legal resource group is the right choice for you.