Unfortunately, when you watch television shows or movies that include segments about divorce, they almost always depict the most destructive divorce possible – think War of the Roses – remember?
Well, divorce doesn’t have to be vicious. You family does not have to be annihilated. You do not need to feel diminished as an individual. No one wins or loses in divorce, despite what the movies lead you to believe.
For several years, beginning before the 1990s, there have been movements toward dispute resolution in an effort for individuals divorcing to separate more peacefully. In North Carolina, and specifically in Mecklenburg County, the alternatives to court-driven litigation include collaboration, mediation, and arbitration. While arbitration is much like litigation but conducted outside of the court, collaborative law and mediation are both great alternatives to the fighting that people typically associate with divorce. These are a more peaceful ways to end your marriage.
Both the mediation process and the collaborative process allow you to remain in control of your life. While you and your spouse may not be communicating well together, lawyers who are involved in these types of cases work with you to empower you to make decisions that meet your interests and the interests of your family thereby allowing you to stay in control of the outcomes.
Mediation utilizes a third person, typically a family law attorney who has received advanced training and has become a certified family financial mediator. The mediator works with you, your attorney, your spouse and your spouse’s attorney to facilitate a resolution that is ultimately agreed upon by you and your spouse. Mediators can either mediate specific issues, like alimony, or can mediate all issues that need resolution. The idea is that the mediator assists the parties in recognizing positions that may not be tenable or may be downright unreasonable and then guides the parties to think differently.
Collaborative law utilizes a team of professionals, including family law attorneys who have received advanced training in the fundamental philosophy of using collaborative methods to resolve divorces peacefully. The team itself typically involves a divorce coach who helps you and your spouse become better communicators with each other as you navigate the divorce process and beyond. The professional team may also include a child behavior specialist who is the voice of the child(ren), and/or a financial specialist who works with you or you and your spouse to deal with complex financial issues. In the collaborative process, the spouses dictate the pace of the resolution, and they agree to never take the issues to court. The team guides each of you to results that are solely based on the interests and needs of each person and not what the law says must be done, although the law is always in the background and not forgotten.
Divorce is difficult, divorce is hard, divorce is sad, but divorce does not need to be ugly. It does not have to be War of the Roses! Alternative Dispute Resolutions are always available as options and in most cases allow the spouses to divorce peacefully, which allows a chapter to be closed and a new one to be opened in a more healthy way.
At Marcellino & Tyson, we are solutions-oriented attorneys and sometimes that means litigators, but we are always looking for alternative dispute resolutions. We are mediators and collaboratively trained attorneys. We believe in options and we believe in peacemaking when possible. If you are ready to move forward with separation and/or divorce, contact us for a consultation with Deb Dilman. We are compassionate attorneys that will advocate for you to receive the result that you deserve.