When you are contemplating divorce, you likely want to make it as hassle free and civil as possible. A smooth end to your marriage is better for your well-being as well as for any children involved. However, is such a divorce possible?

The answer is yes, especially when you choose an alternative dispute resolution over traditional litigation (fighting in court). The two options you have are mediation and collaborative law. Understanding the difference between them can help you decide which is right for your situation.

What is divorce mediation?

With mediation, you and your spouse see a mediator to help you come up with your divorce agreement. Although a mediator may have a legal background, the person does not act as a lawyer but as a facilitator to encourage communication and cooperation. He or she can offer suggestions but not enforce anything, leaving you two in control. You may still need professional services such as accountants and attorneys to ensure everything is accurate.

Mediation is good for those who can be cordial, compromise and focus on the best interests of the entire family. It is generally not effective in cases of abuse.

What is collaborative law?

If you would like more attorney involvement but still outside a courtroom, then collaborative law may be the more appropriate approach. You and your spouse each secure your own legal counsel, and all meet together to create your divorce terms. If you are not successful, then you hire new lawyers for litigation. However, the chances are low that you will need to battle in court, as collaborative law has a very high success rate.

Benefits of alternative dispute resolution

Regardless of which you go with, the divorce process will be quicker. Faster also means cheaper, because you will have fewer legal fees and court fees. Furthermore, the whole family will benefit from the less contentious, more cooperative environment.