One simply cannot use television shows or movies as a tutorial for procedures in a divorce. Much like some television shows portray, though, there can be a wide variety of misconceptions when it comes to a parting of the ways for divorcing couples. In this discourse, every effort will be made to help educate the reader on the varying types of divorce that exist at this moment. Of course, each state has the privilege of mandating certain aspects of the breakup of a married couple, so the information contained here will be general in scope.
Divorce is time-consuming and expensive, and a very important factor in determining the outcome is how well the couple can put aside any feelings of animosity or grief to cooperate on the major issues like money and children. If the parting couple can amicably make important decisions for the changing structure of the family, the process will be easier on the wallet and on the future interactions surrounding the children.
Below are various types of divorce available, along with a brief description of each:
- Uncontested Divorce
- Fault and No-Fault Divorce
- Default Divorce
- Collaborative Divorce
- Mediated Divorce
- Contested Divorce
- Same-Sex Divorce
- Uncontested Divorce
If a married couple who have decided to divorce can work together in such a way that they both agree to terms of the divorce and will file the required court paperwork cooperatively, they will be able to dissolve the marriage through an uncontested divorce. No formal trial is required, and in most cases only one of the parties will have to appear for a short hearing to prove up the divorce.
Fault and No-Fault Divorce
In bygone days, it was necessary for the spouse wanting a divorce to prove that the other party was responsible for the collapse of the marriage. This is no longer required, and every state now has “no-fault” divorce as an option. No one needs to prove blame now. The parties simply state in their paperwork that there are irreconcilable differences or that the relationship has suffered an irremediable breakdown.
It is possible to receive a divorce even if the other spouse refuses to participate in the proceedings and will not respond to divorce papers. A default divorce can be granted by the court anyway. If the other spouse skips town and cannot be located, a default divorce is likely to be the result.
A collaborative divorce requires that the divorcing couple each hire separate family law attorneys who have been trained in working cooperatively and who will attempt to settle the case. This form of divorce leaves the court out of the decision-making procedure. Both spouses agree to divulge all information required for fair negotiations. In addition, they agree to meeting together with both attorneys to discuss a settlement. In the paperwork signed before the process begins, the spouses agree and understand that both lawyers will withdraw and refer the parties to litigation attorneys if no agreement is reached between the spouses. Such an agreement can produce powerful incentive for the spouses to work cooperatively.
For a divorcing couple who each want to keep the decision-making out of a judge’s hands, but cannot agree on all points, a common choice is to bring in a neutral third party to mediate. This individual hears both sides, then helps to facilitate communication between the spouses to aid in reaching an agreement for the divorce. If the parties did not have attorneys for mediation, one of them can hire an attorney for an uncontested divorce.
A contested divorce is the well-known kind that requires each spouse to hire a family law attorney and then let a judge decide the heated, contentious issues. The process can involve settlement negotiations, hearings, and even a trial. This is the traditional method of getting divorced.
Similar in some manners to the process of a mediated divorce, arbitration does involve hiring a third party to hear and weigh each spouse’s side of the case. However, in arbitration, the arbitrator makes decisions just like a judge would, and both spouses must honor these decisions just as though a judge had declared them. Sometimes, arbitration is just like a trial and other times it is less formal. It depends on the arbitration and the agreement of counsel.
Same-sex divorce looks a lot like any other divorce. The same methods are used to end a same-sex domestic partnership, marriage, or civil union as are used for heterosexual married couples to divorce. However, same-sex couples may have legal issues not found among heterosexual couples. For example, their divorce might involve a determination of common law marriage prior to the formal marriage or parenting issues for children conceived differently than the way most children of heterosexual couples are conceived.
Looking For Help With Your Divorce?
If you are looking for help with your divorce, contact Vonda today. Covington Law Firm offers a variety of consultations that range from a 30 minute to a 2 hour consultation.