When people think of divorce, they often envision contentious courtroom battles, but the reality is quite different. You can get a divorce without ever setting foot in a courtroom. It is important to understand that divorce does not have to equal a court battle. Choosing the right divorce process can enable a respectful and amicable divorce.
Dispelling the Misconception that Divorce Means Court
It is a common misconception that divorce inevitably means going to court and engaging in an adversarial proceeding. The reality is that this is not the case for most divorce cases. In fact, it’s entirely possible to get divorced without stepping into a courtroom, provided certain conditions are met.
The Power of Agreements
You and your spouse can agree on the terms of your divorce and largely avoid court involvement. This means discussing and settling matters like property division, child custody, and spousal support. Once you are both satisfied with the terms, you can proceed with the legal paperwork.
Affidavits and Paperwork
Instead of court hearings, you can prepare or have someone prepare the legal documents and affidavits outlining your agreements. In many cases, judges will review and approve these documents without requiring a court appearance. This approach allows you to determine the terms of your divorce, rather than having the judge make decisions on your behalf.
Divorce Process Options
There are several dispute resolution methods that help you reach a divorce settlement without going to court:
- Mediation: A neutral mediator facilitates discussions between you and your spouse to reach mutually agreeable solutions. It encourages open communication and can lead to a less contentious divorce process.
- Collaborative Divorce: In Collaborative Divorce, you work together with your attorneys and neutral expert professionals to find solutions. This approach fosters cooperation and can be less confrontational. The neutrals are experts in child development, co-parenting, and financial issues.
- Attorney-Drafted Documents: If both spouses agree on the terms and choose not to hire attorneys, one attorney can draft the necessary divorce documents, making the process more efficient and cost-effective.
The Prevalence of Out-of-Court Settlements
Contrary to popular belief, a significant portion of divorce cases are settled without going to court. While some cases may involve court appearances for specific issues, many divorces conclude through peaceful negotiations and agreements made outside the courtroom.
Getting a divorce without going to court is indeed possible and, for many couples, a preferred option. By choosing Mediation, Collaborative Divorce, or simply reaching agreements amicably, you can streamline the process, reduce stress, and prioritize the well-being of yourselves and your families. The key is to understand your options and work toward a resolution that suits your specific circumstances.
Contact Family Ally
If you have questions or need legal assistance regarding divorce or any other family law matter, please contact Jennifer Piper at 314-449-9800 to schedule a consultation.
Family Ally is located at 130 S. Bemiston Ave., Suite 608, St. Louis, MO 63105.