When a couple decides to get a divorce, they have options. The continuum of divorce processes range from a kitchen table or “pro se” process where the parties work on their own all the way to a full litigation in front of a court. All of the following processes result in a final divorce and resolution of all issues. Each process is unique and may work for you.
Pro Se/Kitchen Table
What is it: Parties work out resolutions all on their own; may draft up the papers on their own or fill out online papers directly with the Court.
Pros/Cons: Can be quick and nearly free, but requires an ability to work together. Neither party received legal advice.
What is it: Parties work out resolutions with a neutral third-arty mediator; lawyers may or may not be involved. Once resolutions are reached, the parties may draft up the papers on their own or hire attorneys to provide legal advice and draft up the divorce papers.
Pros/Cons: Can be quick, but requires an ability to make decisions for yourself, sometimes without legal advice.
What is it: Parties each have an attorney and work out resolutions in a settlement-focused, out-of-court process; other specialists can be involved, such as a financial specialist, child specialist or coach.
Pros/Cons: Thorough process that can address all issues with legal advice and other specialists, but requires ability to make decisions in one’s own best interest.
What is it: Parties present their case to a third-party decision-maker for adjudication of the issues.
Pros/Cons: Parties have little control over the pacing of the process; but attorneys are typically involved throughout.
Once you learn about the processes, you should meet with a professional to learn which process is best for you.