It’s been a few weeks since my last blog; much has happened since then to include the passing of my wife’s mother. While not unexpected, it was unexpected. We all know the one constant in our lives is change. In fact, if something has not changed in some time I often feel like ducking my head in anticipation of what might happen next. So it is often in marriage, too. Here is an article I just posted on my website about a change in marriage and one option of how to handle it.
As anyone who has gone through one can say, a divorce can be a trying period. It is rare when a divorce ends with no conflict or difficult emotions whatsoever. After all, most divorces in Colorado and elsewhere are a result of conflict. However, many couples may wish to get the process over with quickly, while experiencing as little conflict as possible.
There are some options available that may help couples end a marriage with minimal conflict and hassle. These methods are called uncontested, or amicable, divorces. According to U.S. News and World Report, uncontested divorce is becoming increasingly popular for numerous reasons.
Mediation involves a neutral third party, who assists the divorcing couple in negotiating solutions to their disputes that they both find agreeable. Mediation, according to the American Bar Association, tends to cost much less than a traditional litigated divorce and may also take significantly less time from start to finish. Both spouses may involve an attorney, if they wish, and I recommend that at least one party does. This is because someone will have to prepare all the pleadings and the final agreement, and you will want a skilled professional doing that. Equally as important, you want an attorney to ensure all the issues requiring resolution have been addressed. In Colorado, except in certain circumstances, mediation is not an option. This is because the courts want the parties in a divorce to fashion agreements they can live with as opposed to the court doing so based upon a limited knowledge of the facts.
The following benefits may also be possible with an uncontested divorce:
Reduces conflict – When spouses work together to find solutions, rather than fight over their disputes in court, tension may be dramatically reduced.
Teaches cooperation and negotiation skills – Couples who work on their disputes together while treating each other with respect may learn valuable negotiation and cooperation skills, which may continue to help them later in life. This may be especially beneficial if they are co-parenting children.
Assists children in healing – Since uncontested divorce has a good chance of minimizing conflict, children are often shielded from the worst aspects of a divorce. This benefit for children is often considered with uncontested methods.
Despite the many advantages, uncontested divorce is not for everyone. In cases where domestic violence or substance abuse were factors in the marriage, if one spouse feels intimidated by the other or if neither spouse can get along during negotiations, it may be necessary to take matters to court. Before deciding on one particular divorce option, it is important to discuss an upcoming divorce with an experienced Colorado family law attorney to determine the method that is most likely to be in the best interests of everyone involved.