The end of a spousal relationship can be an emotionally taxing experience complicated by feelings of grief, anxiety, anger, and fear. Even amid the whirlwind of emotions, it is possible to achieve a positive resolution that paves the way for growth, healing, and new beginnings. Whether through mediation, collaboration, arbitration, or family court, an experienced family lawyer can offer you and your spouse the opportunity to make informed decisions with hope and optimism for the future. Let’s explore the options for divorce resolution that may be best for your family.
Separation versus divorce
It is essential to understand that divorce and separation agreements are not interchangeable and serve different purposes. A separation agreement can be used at any point in a common-law relationship or marriage to outline the terms of separation for a couple no longer living together. These terms include the division of property and assets, financial responsibilities, and child custodial and support matters.
A divorce can only be granted to a married couple after they have been separated for one year and on an application to the court to do so. During this separation period, the couple may draft a separation agreement, which can also be used during the dissolution of the marriage. The divorce will formally end the marriage, legally permitting each partner to remarry.
Avenues for resolution
It can be challenging to discuss new financial responsibilities, parenting arrangements, and how assets will be split. However, this is an important part of the separation process and must be done –amicably or in court – so that a legal document can be prepared. There are several ways a couple may choose to resolve their marital issues:
Mediation involves a mediator, a neutral third party, who evaluates the situation and assists both partners with finalizing the terms of their separation. Mediators are trained to facilitate communication and find solutions that meet everyone’s needs. Mediation is usually less expensive and stressful than going to court. It can be particularly effective when children are involved, as it allows parents to work together to create a parenting plan.
In the collaborative law approach, partners and their lawyers work together to develop a mutually acceptable agreement. Like mediation, collaborative law is typically less expensive and less stressful than going to court, and it can be particularly effective when complex financial issues are involved.
Arbitration is another avenue for resolving issues related to separation or divorce. In arbitration, a neutral third party, called an arbitrator, is hired to make a binding decision on the disputed issues. Arbitration can be effective when spouses cannot reach an agreement through mediation or collaborative law.
In addition to the above methods, there are several court-based options for resolving issues related to separation or divorce. These include litigation, which involves each spouse hiring a family lawyer and going to court to have a judge decide on the issues in dispute. While going to court can be more expensive and time-consuming than other options, it is necessary in cases where the couple cannot agree by other means.
A Family Lawyer Who Understands
Geoff Carpenter is an experienced family lawyer with over 10 years of experience supporting clients through marital separation and custodial challenges. Geoff strives to help families find fair and cost-effective resolutions outside of court.
Call Carpenter Family Law at 905.842.0635 or complete our contact form to book a free consultation.