Going through a divorce can be overwhelming, and the litigation process can only intensify the stress you may already be feeling. By divorcing using an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) method, you may be able to work out child support, custody, alimony, and property division issues outside of court while keeping tension at a minimum.
Alternative dispute resolution can provide a low-conflict way to settle any disagreements that must be worked out between you and your spouse before a judge will grant your divorce. There are several different types of ADR processes that can be tailored to meet the needs of your specific situation — all of which can allow you to resolve your matrimonial matters privately, amicably, and without resorting to litigation.
The three primary types of alternative dispute resolution methods used in Oregon divorces include mediation, arbitration, and collaborative divorce. All of these ADR methods come with numerous benefits. By resolving your disputes with your spouse using mediation, arbitration, or collaborative divorce, you can:
Alternative dispute resolution may not be appropriate in highly contentious divorce cases. But when both spouses are willing to be transparent and compromise, alternative dispute resolution can help relieve the emotional and financial burdens that you might experience while going through divorce.
One of the most common alternative dispute resolution methods is mediation. When you mediate your divorce, a neutral third party will help you make the compromises that are necessary to reach an agreement and guide the settlement discussion. Not only can a mediator assist you with resolving your disputes, but they can also help you develop tools for communication that can set a solid foundation for a positive co-parenting relationship.
Generally, when parties choose to mediate their divorce, one trained mediator is hired who works to facilitate healthy communication. Although mediators are sometimes attorneys, they do not provide legal advice or take sides during these sessions. Although it is not necessary to have your own attorney when you are mediating your divorce, it is highly recommended that you consult with one to understand your legal rights.
Collaborative divorce can be advantageous for spouses who are committed to working together to resolve their disputes — and promise not to pursue litigation. When spouses use the collaborative process, a team of professionals is assembled to assist you with various aspects of your divorce. Depending on the issues in your divorce, a collaborative divorce team might be comprised of a financial neutral, a child custody specialist, an accountant, a therapist, an appraiser, and others.
While each party has their own attorney who will provide legal counsel in a collaborative divorce, the approach is not adversarial. However, just because you and your spouse agree to participate in the collaborative process, it doesn’t mean that your divorce will be without conflict. In these cases, a mental health professional can be instrumental in helping you and your spouse achieve your objectives.
Arbitration is a form of alternative dispute resolution that is similar to litigation — an arbitrator can hear testimony, consider evidence, and render decisions. Instead of having your matrimonial matter heard in a public courtroom, arbitrations are conducted in a private setting. In some cases, the court may even require you to participate in arbitration, absent any disputes concerning custody or support.
If you and your spouse have made the decision to divorce, alternative dispute resolution can offer an option to end your marriage with as little conflict as possible. It can help avoid the stress and expense of trial and allow you to remain in control of the outcome of your case.
Additionally, alternative dispute resolution can make divorce much easier on your children. With mediation, collaborative divorce, or arbitration, you will ultimately spend less time in court, allowing you to spend more time with them. In addition, custody, visitation, and parenting time arrangements can be worked out through alternative dispute resolution — eliminating the need to involve your children in the case.
However, there are certain situations where alternative dispute resolution might not be appropriate. If there are allegations of substance abuse, domestic violence, or child neglect — or you are certain that your spouse will not be honest with financial disclosure — it may be best to litigate your case in court.
Alternative dispute resolution can be a highly effective and efficient way to divorce. But it’s vital to have a skilled attorney on your side who can discuss your options with you and ensure your legal rights are protected. Based in Salem, Litowich Law provides dedicated representation to clients throughout Oregon for divorce and family law matters. We welcome you to contact us to schedule a consultation.