A divorce terminates the legal relationship between two people who have been legally joined through marriage. While some readers may be familiar with the result of a divorce – the return of the parties to their single statuses – they may not know that Connecticut residents have options for how to bring about the ends of their marriages. This informative post will explore three options that divorcing parties may want to consider when they have decided that they are ready to end their marriages. As with all articles provided on this blog, however, readers are encouraged to speak with knowledgeable family law attorneys about these topics as this post does not offer any legal advice.

Option #1: Litigation as a Path to Divorce

The most traditional path to divorce and possibly the most familiar path as well is litigation. A litigated divorce involves the courts and often involves attorneys on both sides of the case. Each party to the divorce may appear before a judge with their attorney and may follow the procedural steps to end their marriage. When a divorce is litigated the parties may create their own agreements on divorce-related topics and have them accepted by the court, or the court may issue orders that dictate the post-marital relationship for the parties.

Option #2: Mediation as a Path to Divorce

An emerging path to divorce that is favored by some individuals is mediation. During a mediated divorce the parties do not appear before a judge and they are not represented by their own attorneys. The goal of mediation is for the parties to work out their own divorce agreements on topics such as custody, support, and property division. The mediator does not advocate for certain outcomes but works with the parties to find acceptable solutions to their divorce concerns.

Options #3: Collaboration as a Path to Divorce

Like mediation, collaboration for the purposes of securing a divorce occurs outside of a courtroom. However, like litigation, each of the parties to the divorce may have their own legal counselor to support them. Collaborative divorces adopt a teamwork mentality to find common ground and resolutions to the parties’ divorce-related needs. Outside specialists, such as those whose expertise concerns the welfare of children, may be involved in the collaborative divorce process.

Moving between these divorce options may be possible if collaboration or mediation break down. Couples can move their divorce cases into the courts and pursue litigation if necessary. However, before a person commits to a divorce path they may benefit from educating themselves on their options and the benefits of each divorce alternative. Attorneys who support individuals engaged in all 3 divorce options are excellent resources for those who are unsure of how to move their divorces forward.