Garton & Vogt
An Overview of the Various Methods to Divorce, Part 1
Every divorce is unique. Every couple collects a variety of assets, a unique retirement account make-up, their children are different, and their memories are different. Each of these factors contribute to making each divorce different, as couples confront their different issues. To help you along, there are four general "types" of divorce: do-it-yourself, mediated, collaborative, and litigated divorce. There are pros and cons to each of these methods. This post will address do-it-yourself ("DIY") and litigated divorce.
A DIY divorce is a typical divorce but devoid of any lawyers or legal professionals. It is undertaken when both parties work through their divorce on their own. This method, while the cheapest, also comes with its set of difficulties. Divorce is complicated, and there are many financial and legal issues that must be addressed. DIY divorces risk overlooking critical issues, which could cause future problems.
A DIY divorce is best if you have few assets, roughly equal income, were married for a short period, and there are no children involved. If any of those factors are present, you may want to consider one of the other three methods. Even if you believe DIY is for you, consider retaining a lawyer to review the final agreement before you submit it to the court.
Litigated divorce occurs when both parties hire attorneys. Litigated divorce may involve a courtroom but not always. Litigated divorces are more expensive than DIY, but a lawyer ensures that all of the issues will be settled. For example, a lawyer can ensure that you address retirement plan concerns or how to divide real property assets, like a house.
The better attorneys are the ones that focus on compromising and reaching an amicable settlement with your ex-spouse. A lawyer can ensure that you get the fairest deal possible that will be enforced by the courts. There are many different ways to divide marital property, but it is important that you don't go for the cheapest or "quickest" solution. Carefully consider all of your options to ensure that you fully address every possible issue in your divorce.