ALTERNATIVES TO A CONTESTED DIVORCE
Before filing for divorce, you may want to consider some of the alternatives to going straight into a contested divorce situation, where the parties are going into court multiple times and fighting over each issue. Set forth below are a few of the alternatives:
Summary dissolutionThis is a type of divorce proceeding. However, it is a simplified divorce process, so easy it can be filed by a non-attorney. Although the divorce process is simple, few people qualify. To qualify for this type of divorce proceeding, both parties must agree to sign the divorce papers, each spouse must have a limited number of assets and debts, neither party can own real property, there can be no children of the marriage, the date of marriage must be within five years of the filing for a divorce, and neither party is requesting spousal support. This type of divorce can usually be filed on line, through the local family law courthouse.
Annulmentthis act cancels out away the marriage, and, in the eyes of the law, the parties were never legally married. There is no waiting period, but a trial is required in family court. A party cannot qualify for an annulment simply because they were not married very long or the marriage was not consummated. In order to qualify for an annulment, the parties must meet very specific requirements.
An uncontested divorce is where the parties agree to the terms of the judgment even before the paperwork is filed. The advantage of this process is that the parties can avoid litigation; neither party ever appears in court, and because there is no litigation, the cost is substantially less. The disadvantage is that it requires each party to compromise. In order to obtain a settlement, each party must be flexible and make realistic demands from the other party.
Most people who consider legal separation do so because they are not sure whether they really want a divorce. They often are looking for ways to protect themselves from being financially responsible for their spouse's debts. Furthermore, both parties must agree to a legal separation in order for the court to grant this relief. For this reason, legal separations are rare and are not normally recommended for people in these situations.