Almost anyone will tell you that an uncontested divorce is better than a contested one. Uncontested filings occur when spouses resolve all of their property division, child custody and support matters directly with one another. Their time in court is more about reviewing and formalizing their agreements rather than settling the disputes that send some couples into contested or litigated divorce proceedings.
Uncontested divorces give you the final say in what happens in your divorce and also tend to have lower costs than litigated divorces. Of course, many people facing divorce don’t currently agree with their ex about what would be fair and appropriate for their family.
If you would like to file an uncontested divorce but currently disagree on major issues with your ex, one of the two tools below could be a valuable resource.
Alternative dispute resolution helps you settle matters outside of court
When you believe that you can cooperate with your ex with appropriate support, you may just need a little extra support to find a compromise that works for everyone. Alternative dispute resolution allows you to bring in a third party to help you sort out your disagreements.
You may want to consider arbitration, which involves both of you presenting your cases and then asking for a neutral third party to determine what would be fair and appropriate given your circumstances and state law.
Some people worry about arbitration because they have heard about abuses of the system. Those issues typically involve businesses mandating binding arbitration in their contracts, not spouses pursuing outside support to negotiate a divorce settlement. If arbitration does not appeal to you or if you worry that your ex could manipulate the outcome in arbitration proceedings, then mediation might be a better option.
In mediation, the neutral third party acts less as a judge and more as a facilitator. It is their job to help the two of you set aside your disagreements and reach a solution that you both agree is fair and reasonable. Either of these two solutions can help when you have a metaphorical logjam in your negotiations. If you can’t seem to settle matters on your own, bringing in a professional for an outside perspective could make all the difference.
What if alternative dispute resolution doesn’t work?
Although it is frequently successful, there is no guarantee that alternative dispute resolution like mediation or arbitration will work for you and your ex. The good news is that if you can’t reach an agreement, you simply won’t sign any paperwork. You will still have the option of litigating your divorce if you attempt arbitration or mediation and can’t resolve your disagreements.
Understanding the various tools that can help you arrange an uncontested divorce will make moving on from your unhappy marriage a little simpler and less frustrating.