It’s often the case that people heading for a divorce don’t actually know much about the process. Little light is shed on the subject by those who have been through the experience (often, the subject is a touchy one for people), and popular culture tends to highlight the salacious elements of a divorce (accusations of infidelity, for instance, or fights over child custody) without showing the actual process in full.
Since so many people get divorced every year, it’s odd that so little is often known about the process.
One important element of divorce is that not all divorces aren’t the same. In fact, divorces exist on a spectrum, from the most amicable, easily handled cases to very bitter cases that can drag on and be quite traumatic.
There are actually different forms of divorce to accommodate this spectrum. On the amicable end, there are uncontested divorces, in which lawyers are brought really just to make sure the process is followed properly. The details of the divorce have already been agreed to by both parties, and so there is no fighting it out necessary. Everyone knows who gets the house and who has custody of the kids.
On the other end of the spectrum, contested divorces are the kind usually seen on TV and in the movies, where a judge is required in order to decide issues that the two parties can’t agree to on their own. If both people want the house and the kids, then someone else has to be brought in to make the decision for everyone.
Between these two extremes is a third type of divorce: the collaborative divorce. This is perhaps the least well-known type of divorce. Again, while contested divorces make good TV, and uncontested divorces are quite common, the collaborative divorce rarely gets much publicity.
As this law firm explains, a collaborative divorce is one in which the issues have not been hashed out yet, but both sides want to work together to find a solution.
That means all information is shared between the two sides instead of requiring people to sneak around and find out information.
For those who can’t quite agree on who gets the house and how the custody will work with the kids, but who both think both parties want whats best and a deal can be reached, this type of divorce can work well. As an added benefit, it tends to speed up the proceedings and lower costs.
As you can see from the above points, there’s a lot of nuance to divorce, with different types of divorce available for different types of divorces. Just as every couple is unique and the break up of every couple is unique, the law has accommodated these various shades of divorce out there.
Remember that no particular type of divorce is better or worse than the others, and no particular type shows that you are a better or worse person or that you have certain types of feelings towards your soon-to-be-ex. Just choose the type that works best for you.