Choosing the right type of divorce procedure for your situation

If asked, nobody who went through a divorce would say it was easy. Even with the fastest divorce, both spouses would have likely undergone tremendous heartache and stress. The end of a marriage is never a trivial life event. While there are many well-publicized celebrity divorces that tell horror stories of drawn-out court battles over child custody and marital property, the good news is that many divorces don't turn out this way. Even a contested divorce can be dealt with in a fairly reasonable time frame. However, many divorcing couples are turning to a variety of options that may make the process easier on both the calendar and the wallet.

Spouses divorcing in New York can choose between a few different methods, depending on their circumstances and whether or not they're able to treat each other civilly. According to the Chicago Times, uncontested divorces are gaining in popularity today because they may cost less than a divorce in court; however, this process may not work for every divorcing couple.

Understanding the different types of divorce

Choosing a divorce method is a much more important decision than picking an outfit out of a catalog. An option that may be ideal for one couple could be disastrous for another. Therefore, it's important to weigh this decision carefully and to consider each spouse's temperament as well as the factors that will be decided upon. The main types of divorce are:

  • Litigation - Known as the traditional court divorce where a judge will most likely make the decisions, a litigated divorce may be best when one or both spouses are unable to come to an agreement without outside help or there are significant assets in play. Even so, a divorcing couple may be able to resolve disputes with the help of their attorneys and/or the judge, and the process may be over with sooner than expected.
  • Collaborative divorce - In a collaborative divorce, each spouse will usually have his and her own attorney present, as well as other professionals such as child therapists and financial advisors, to help resolve disputes to the best benefit of each side. While this option may work for low-conflict cases where couples have fewer assets, litigation may be the preferred method to resolve high net-worth divorces.

In some cases, uncontested divorces aren't recommended. This includes spouses who endured physical or emotional abuse during the marriage, or if substance abuse was a factor. If one spouse feels intimidated by the other, or is at a significant financial disadvantage, litigation may be the best option.

How an attorney can help

An experienced family law attorney can be a person's best advocate during the difficult process of getting a divorce, and can help him or her decide which option is best under the circumstances.