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Can I Avoid Going to Court for a Divorce?


Couples working through a divorce often experience feelings of anger and betrayal, making it difficult to settle issues out of court. A legal battle may seem inevitable but can often cause further emotional and financial hardship. Spouses may not always be aware of the alternative methods for divorce and litigation should be among the last resorts in dispute resolution. Coming to an agreement outside of the courtroom can save all parties both time and money. Below are four methods for divorce which can allow spouses to avoid a trial.

1. Mediation: One of the first approaches generally recommended to couples seeking a divorce is mediation. Here, an impartial third party (the mediator) helps spouses talk through issues in order to settle disputes. The mediator does not act as a judge. They are there to help create an atmosphere allowing couples to effectively reach agreements themselves. Although this process is non-adversarial, spouses can still consult with their own attorneys regarding the terms discussed in mediation sessions. Mediation will typically be among the most cost-effective methods for divorce.

2. Summary dissolution: Also known in California as uncontested divorce, summary dissolution can be a comparatively simple route for divorce. Spouses are not required to speak to a judge or appear in court and many of the processes happen automatically once the paperwork is filed. The quick nature of this method comes with stipulations and both parties forfeit certain rights which are available to them in a litigated divorce. Couples do not have the ability to seek spousal support (also known as alimony) and cannot challenge the divorce agreement except for in cases of extenuating circumstances. Not everyone is eligible for summary dissolution and spouses must meet requirements including:

  • Do not have any children together
  • Have not been married for more than 5 years
  • Are not seeking spousal support
  • Agree on issues relating to property division
  • Assets and debts do not exceed specified amounts

3. Collaborative divorce: During this process, spouses settle disputes with the representation of their own collaborative consul and agree not to pursue litigation. The process may also involve the use of specialists such as accountants or psychologists. In the event that a collaborative divorce breaks down, no information which was discussed can legally be used in court. Additionally, attorneys involved in the collaborative law process are not allowed to represent either spouse in future litigation.

4. Arbitration: An adversarial process where couples hire a professional arbiter to act as a judge and decide the terms of a divorce. Arbitration proceedings can be binding, where spouses are unable to challenge a decision, or non-binding, where either party can go on to request a trial. Although arbitration involves a ruling by a judge, proceedings are often less formal than a trial and typically take less time to complete.

Questions Regarding Your Divorce? Call (888) 392-1941

No divorce is simple or easy and when you and your spouse need the assistance of a third party, the Orange County divorce attorneys at the Gill Law Group, PC can help. Our attorneys will work with you every step of the way to answer your questions and discover the method of marriage dissolution which may be best for you. Our firm has a “client first” philosophy and from the moment you walk through our doors, you will never be just a number.

Are you ready to talk about your divorce with a compassionate attorney? Schedule your complimentary consultation today.