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Litigation Is Not The Only Divorce Option

When many couples imagine divorce, they may picture tense arguments in the courtroom. However, divorce litigation might not be the best option for every scenario. Sometimes, couples can work together to save time, costs and stress.

At Friedrich & Fletcher, S.C., our family law attorneys help our clients choose a divorce method that works for them. In many cases, an alternative to litigation can be beneficial, allowing spouses to retain more control over the outcome. We are ready to guide you through the process.

Determine Which Method Is Right For You

In the traditional litigation model of family law, each party typically hires an attorney who advocates for their position. Negotiation occurs, generally through the attorneys. If the parties are unable to resolve their difference and reach an agreement, they may turn to a judge to make the final decision after a court proceeding, or hearing, in which each spouse’s attorney presents evidence and makes an argument to the judge.

Mediation And Collaborative Divorce Processes

In mediation, the parties hire a neutral third party to help them negotiate an agreement. The mediator does not advise or represent either party, and parties who use a mediator may still choose to represent themselves in their divorce action. If either party wishes to have legal advice, he or she consults with a separate attorney. Parties who reach an agreement with the assistance of a mediator may still use their attorneys to draft the final agreement for the court system.

In a collaborative divorce, both parties agree to negotiate all issues of divorce. There is no formal mediator or judge who oversees the negotiation process. However, each spouse still typically works with their own attorney for complex financial and legal matters. The attorneys often help with forms, and they inform their clients on their rights, options and potential challenges.

Representing Yourself Through Pro Se Divorce

In a pro se divorce, the parties do not hire attorneys, although they may consult with a lawyer for some issues during the process. They prepare and file all the necessary documents by themselves, including the initial summons and petition, any motions and affidavits, financial disclosure statements, written agreements, and the final judgment of divorce. In many areas of the state, the county court system has form documents available to parties who are proceeding pro se. The parties may also turn to books or internet resources for information and assistance with the process. In the pro se model, the parties negotiate and draft their final divorce agreement and present it to the court for approval. If they are unable to reach an agreement on all issues, they should be prepared to gather the information the judge will need to decide the issues, present their case to the court by calling witnesses, presenting documentary evidence as appropriate, and telling the court why their requests should be granted. The judge or family court commissioner will then make the final decisions.

Assess Your Options With Our Team

Making important decisions for your divorce can be overwhelming. Our experienced attorneys can walk you through the benefits and drawbacks of each method to help you reach a decision. Call 608-258-4660 or send an email to our Madison office for a consultation.