Ending a marriage in Wisconsin has traditionally involved a couple fighting out their issues in court. Divorce litigation has often led to exorbitantly high court fees and hard feelings on both sides. If you are seeking a divorce from your spouse but want to avoid the high financial and emotional costs involved, you should know that there are other, less contentious, options available. We at Brazil & Benske have observed that alternative processes such as collaborative divorce and mediation can be less costly, create less conflict and yield greater satisfaction than divorce litigation.
According to FindLaw, collaborative divorce is a fairly recent development, dating back only as far as the early 1990s. In a collaborative divorce, negotiations take place in a neutral setting where the spouses meet with their attorneys. The expectation is that all participants, spouses and attorneys alike, participate in a discussion that is open and positive with the goal of reaching an agreeable resolution.
At any point in a collaborative divorce, you or your spouse may decide to terminate the process and turn to traditional litigation instead. However, if this happens, you each must hire a different attorney to represent you in court. Collaborative law attorneys agree to withdraw from the case if either party terminates the process; this is a fundamental collaborative law principle that demonstrates the attorneys' commitment to the process.
Mediation is similar to the collaborative law process in that the goal is conflict resolution in a non-adversarial setting. The main difference is that mediation requires the involvement of a neutral third party with specific training and knowledge to act as a mediator and guide the discussion toward a mutually beneficial divorce settlement.
Alternative processes of divorce often proceed more quickly than litigation, are less expensive and can be less contentious. Nevertheless, not every couple will benefit from them, and in some cases, litigation may be more appropriate. More information about mediation and collaborative divorce is available on our website.