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The ending of a marriage is never easy. There are always more issues to confront than anyone realized including property distribution decisions, new estate planning, support issues, and, of course, if there are children, parenting plans bring up the most anxiety and stress.

Good news, though — there are different ways to approach divorce that might better fit your family and estate.  One is Collaborative Divorce that approaches your issues with a professional team committed to keep you from going to court.

The Four Most Common Types of Divorce

Litigated Divorce – the most common type of divorce where each individual is represented by their own attorney to negotiate the terms of property distribution, child custody, and division of liabilities.

Do-It-Yourself Divorce – because of the legal complexities of divorce, this is never recommended and only a viable option when the couple has been married only a short time, has no children, and little to no assets or debt to be divided.  Mistakes are common (and permanent) with DIY divorces.

Mediation – a mediated divorce is overseen by a “neutral mediator who helps both parties come to an agreement on all aspects of their divorce. The mediator may or may not be a lawyer, but he/she must be extremely well-versed in divorce and family law.”

Each party may consult with their own attorney, but in a mediated divorce, the couple is making decisions on settlement terms, not the court.  The mediator’s role is to facilitate reaching an agreement. However, in order for the agreements to be fair and the settlement binding, the parties involved should be reasonable and amicable (not often the case with divorcing couples).

Collaborative Divorce – This process of reaching a divorce settlement without going to court, is fairly novel and brings 3-4 professionals to the fore front of your case at the very beginning.  Each spouse is represented by their own attorney, trained in the collaborative process. The other neutral professionals may include a certified financial planner and a coach with therapist certification who will help with child custody decisions and other emotionally charged issues and who often guides the full team meetings.

Learn more about collaborative divorce: How Collaborative Divorce Works: FAQs

In Arizona, couples who choose mediation or a collaborative divorce, avoid going to court altogether, because those types allow for Consent Decree filing once a settlement is reached.

As an experienced mediator and collaborative law professional Cristi McMurdie will help divorcing couples examine all available types of divorce and determine the best approach for their specific circumstances.  Contact McMurdie Law to schedule a consultation.