Alternative Ways to Divorce in Connecticut: Litigation, Mediation, and Collaborative Divorce
After you decide that a divorce is the best decision for you, the next question is often about the available ways to divorce in Connecticut. The default for Connecticut divorces in Connecticut is litigation. When you talk about litigation, maybe people picture the classic divorce image of two angry spouses battling it out in court. While this still happens, the good news is that it’s not the only route — or even the most common route.
If you’ve made the decision to end your marriage, you can also select the divorce method that best reflects your current situation and relationship with your spouse. The primary options are:
- Collaborative Divorce
- Litigation (low-and high-conflict)
Let’s take a closer look at each one.
Alternative Ways to Divorce in Connecticut: Collaborative Divorce and Mediation
If you and your spouse are in agreement and/or willing to work together to resolve important matters like property division, child custody, alimony & spousal support, and child support, collaborative divorce could be an ideal option for you. Both of you work with your own attorneys and professionals like those below to negotiate property division and spousal support, come up with a parenting plan, and make the divorce easier on your children.
- Divorce coaches
- Financial advisors
- Child specialists
The principal advantage of collaborative divorce is that you decide the terms of your divorce settlement instead of a judge who does not know your family and its dynamics. Because you and your spouse are partners in achieving a mutually acceptable resolution, you don’t see each other as adversaries and can be better co-parents to your children. The only time you appear in court is when the divorce agreement is signed, so the stress and expense of courtroom involvement are practically nonexistent.
There are a few potential drawbacks to consider. With a collaborative divorce, you and your spouse must commit to the process. If you fail to agree in all key areas, making litigation necessary, you both have to retain new attorneys and start over with a litigated divorce. Many judges will also refuse to accept a collaborative divorce agreement if your relationship has a history of domestic violence.
With divorce mediation, you both work with a trained neutral mediator who helps you come to an agreement on all major aspects of your divorce. While many mediators are attorneys, this is not a requirement. Both you and your spouse still retain and consult with your own attorneys while mediation is taking place and prior to signing the divorce agreement.
Like collaborative divorce, mediation is beneficial in that your co-parenting relationship with your former spouse is likely to be more positive, an outcome that is also beneficial for the children. It is also purely voluntary, which means that neither of you is bound by the mediator’s suggestions.
Although beneficial, mediated divorce does not suit all situations. If you and your spouse cannot communicate civilly or you don’t trust him or her to voluntarily disclose all financial information, litigated divorce may be the best option.
Litigated divorce remains the most common, although it is important to remember that “litigation” is not necessarily synonymous with “bitter courtroom battle.” You can be in complete agreement in most areas, but if you cannot come to terms on an important factor, such as the amount of alimony or all the details of the parenting plan, the court is there to make a decision.
When you decide to divorce, weigh your options carefully. To watch our Founding Attorney Meghan Freed‘s full presentation on Choosing Your Approach to Divorce, click here.
At Freed Marcroft, we have helped hundreds of people move forward to a better life and make informed choices about their divorce options. At our first step, the Goals & Planning Conference, we start by working through these questions with you to help you figure out your goals. If you decide that divorce is part of what you need to do to get you to the future you want, we can help you. If it isn’t, we will support you and help you figure out what you need to get you there instead.
Let’s keep you moving forward.
Click here so that we can send you a complimentary video where we discuss our first step at Freed Marcroft — the Goals & Planning Conference, why this process exists, plus our insights on how you can get started with us.