The past years have been hard for all of us, and this has been made obvious in the number of divorces being filed. Divorce might feel like the end of your life. It is not! Here at Ellen Cronin Badeaux, we want you to see divorce as a new opportunity to continue your life and rebuild it. But first, you need to get through the actual process of divorcing. Does this mean you have to face a judge who makes major decisions about your life?
Not necessarily. In fact, many people resolve their divorce cases without going to court. They choose to work through an alternative so that they have more control over the outcome of their case. Options to avoid going to court include:
#1 Informal Settlement A settlement proposal must be clear and specific. Your proposal should express your preferred outcome for items like custody of your children, division of money and property, who gets to live in the house, and more. After you and your Covington, LA family attorney create a settlement offer that you agree with, your attorney will send it to your ex-spouse’s attorney. After you receive a response, you and your attorney will create another proposal to address the remaining issues. You are negotiating! You can cycle through this process for as long as you’re making progress toward a settlement. Many divorcing couples are able to settle their cases during this step, but it can take time. Not every case can settle at this phase, even with patience.
#2 Mediation If your case does not settle with some back and forth negotiations, the next step is to see if a professional mediator can help you. During the mediation process, you and your attorney will sit in one room and your spouse and your spouse’s attorney will sit in another room. The mediator will carry settlement offers and ideas between rooms.
#3 Arbitration If you are not able to settle every aspect of your case at mediation, arbitration presents a final alternative to divorce court. The arbitrator is usually a retired judge with years of experience in divorce cases. Arbitration is slightly different from a “real” trial because you get to pick the person making the final decision and the process is less formal. That being said, it is similar to a trial in the fact that you give another person power to make decisions about your life. This is done because you and your ex simply cannot come to an agreement. At the end of the arbitration, the arbitrator makes an “arbitration award,” which is a final decision, resolving the remaining issues in your case.
Our Covington, LA divorce attorneys here to answer any questions you may have during what we know can be an emotionally overwhelming time. Please call us (985)-892-1955 or contact us through our simple online form in order to get started down the right path for you and your family.