Many people in North Carolina think that getting divorced involves bitter, protracted litigation in court. While divorce litigation does happen, it is not the only option. There are a few different ways you can end your marriage without having to undergo the litigation process.
Alternative dispute resolution methods
Some people choose alternative dispute resolution methods to negotiate full divorce settlement agreements and end their marriages without fighting their spouses in court trials. These methods include mediation or collaborative divorce.
In divorce mediation, both spouses meet with a neutral third-party mediator, who is a person with special training in facilitating agreements. The mediator talks to each spouse separately and works with both to try to reach an agreement that resolves their outstanding disputes. If an agreement is reached, the mediation agreement can be filed with the court and included in the final divorce decree.
Collaborative divorce involves both spouses, their attorneys, and other key professionals meeting together to negotiate an agreement that is fair to both spouses. If an agreement is reached, it can be filed in court and included in the divorce decree.
Some people try to get divorced by filing the paperwork themselves. This approach might work for spouses who do not have substantial assets or minor children and who agree on everything. However, it might not be a good approach for people who have complex property division, child custody, and support issues to resolve.
If you want to get divorced or have received a copy of a petition for divorce from your spouse, engaging in divorce litigation is not the only method for ending your marriage. Choosing an alternative dispute resolution method to try to secure a full agreement might allow you and your spouse to have more control over how the issues in your case are resolved. This might make both of you happier than you might be if you leave it up to a judge who does not know either of you.