You've just about had it. Your marriage has been rocky for some time now, but the efforts at reconciliation are clearly not working, and you want to be done with it. Maybe your spouse has been unfaithful or unapproachable, and you simply can't deny your growing resentment. Maybe you and your spouse have been waging war for years, and you are ready for the last great battle: divorce court.
Before you strap on your combat gear and dig in your heels for a fight, consider the consequences of a highly contentious divorce. If the goal of your divorce is to remove yourself from a marriage full of conflict, it may serve you better to begin that process by removing the conflict from your divorce.
Options for divorce
These days, divorce does not have to mean litigation. It is quite possible - and, in fact, encouraged - that couples try to work out their issues outside of a courtroom. The three choices a couple have when dissolving their marriage include:
Each of these procedures has its benefits and drawbacks, but highly contested litigation may have negatives that far outweigh the benefits.
The cost of ending your marriage
Speaking strictly in terms of cost, mediation - which, in Florida, is a required part of your divorce - is the least expensive at an average cost of $6,600. Collaborative law brings professionals in the areas of finances, time-sharing issues and personal concerns together with your attorney and your spouse's attorney for negotiating terms. The cost of a collaborative divorce is typically around $20,000.
These may seem reasonable when compared to the expense of taking your divorce to litigation, which may carry a price tag well over $70,000. Of course, when weighing the price of a divorce, you can't think only about your wallet. The tone and tension of your divorce may very well cost you more dearly than you can count with dollars and cents.
Mediation may save more than money
The goal of mediation is to resolve many of the disputes calmly while dealing with any emotional conflicts that would otherwise make litigation necessary. In a courtroom, a judge focuses on legal issues without addressing those personal wounds. If decisions are reached at the mediation level, litigation may not be necessary.
In addition, if you and your soon-to-be-ex spouse can reach agreements together, rather than relying on a judge to make them for you, those agreements are likely to be long-lasting and easier to live with. Despite the resentment or misbehavior that brought you and your spouse to the decision to end your marriage, you can begin your new life with peace of mind, knowing that you handled your divorce in a dignified manner.