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Is alternative dispute resolution the right choice for you?

If you need to get a divorce, then one of the things you might be interested in is not having to go to court for the divorce. When you go to court and have a trial, much of what is said and done is made public. For many people, this isn't good, especially because the public then knows what they have in terms of assets.

The good news for you in this situation is that you can use alternative dispute resolution instead of a trial to stay out of court. Divorces are usually resolved through information negotiations or with out-of-court ADR proceedings. ADR processes include things such as collaborative family law, arbitration and mediation.

How do you know if alternative dispute resolution is right for you?

The best way to tell is by looking at your situation and seeing if you and your spouse can find any kind of common ground. If you are willing to meet to work together for a resolution, even if it's heard by an arbitrator or mediator, then alternative dispute resolution could work for your case.

Another good reason to choose ADR is if you and your spouse do not want your assets mentioned in a public trial. Keep in mind that anything that happens in a traditional court typically becomes public, so if you can agree that's not something you want, you may be able to depend on ADR instead.

What should you do if you don't want to go through alternative dispute resolution?

If you have the ability to negotiate with your spouse outside court, that is always a good option. It saves time and money. If not, you should ask yourself why you want to avoid ADR.

ADR helps educate you both on the law and helps the separation go smoothly. The goal is to obtain a settlement that both parties can agree with. However, if you or the other party don't want to participate, there is no other option than to go to court to allow a judge to decide. ADR saves time and money, but it's up to you to decide if it's really the right option for your case.

Sometimes, cases involving abuse or significant faults do better in a trial, since the judge can consider how one spouse has been wronged, but that comes down to each spouse's settlement wishes. If you're looking to obtain as much as possible with no consideration for your spouse, then ADR may not be the right option.

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