Legal Issues of Divorce You Never Thought You’d Have to Face

Should you hire a divorce lawyer? A divorce mediator? An arbitrator? What should you do?

One of the very first things you may be worrying about if you are contemplating divorce is the legal ramifications. On top of all of the emotional work that you are doing right now, the legal and financial aspect can be one of the most overwhelming issues when it comes to divorce. Today’s woman is a lot more confident and successful than divorced women of yesteryear, and they stand to lose a lot more financially and legally when it comes to divorce. This can be frustrating as you have been working so hard for so many years to get to where you are today. When you add divorce in the mix, overwhelming feelings arise as now it feels like you may have to start from scratch.

Many legal questions about divorce may be clouding your head, and here we will help you fine tune the different areas of divorce law so that you can make some sound judgements as to what the next steps are in your marriage from a legal and financial perspective. The good news for you is, you do have options outside of expensive lawyers and time-consuming and costly court dates.

What legal options do you have when contemplating divorce?

Traditional Divorce. This is a fairly common kind of divorce, and one of the most common. In an article for the American Law and Economics Review, titled “These Boots are Made for Walking: Why most Divorce Filers are Women,” Authors Allen Douglas and Margaret Brinig discuss this type of divorce. When women become the filers in a divorce setting, the egos of their male counterparts tend to get a little bruised, and this is when divorce has the potential to get ugly. In a traditional divorce, emotions are high and both parties seek the counsel of the adversarial type of lawyer that will “go after everything they can”. This is the kind of divorce that is costly both in time, money, and emotional health. If there is any amicability between you and your spouse remaining, this may be the kind of divorce you want to avoid. When you are contemplating divorce, low costs at all levels will be the most beneficial to you as you move forward in reinventing your life after divorce.

Pro Se Divorce. In this kind of divorce, you are essentially representing yourself, and conducting the divorce and settlement between you and your spouse alone. This kind of divorce is legal and can be upheld in a court of law if needed, and is the least expensive and emotionally draining divorce. To get a pro se divorce, you would use a “do-it-yourself” kit and undertake all of the paperwork with your spouse. This is the most amicable kind of divorce, and is the best option if your divorce will be uncontested and you and your spouse can agree on all divorce terms together without the ugliness of legal intervention. Your local court or town hall will have information on what you will require to undertake a pro se divorce.

Divorce Mediation. The American Arbitration Association defines arbitration and mediation as a form of alternative dispute resolution that you can engage in the process of divorce. A mediator will be used in a divorce litigation process when you want to avoid court costs and are able to work with your spouse towards the negotiation of a divorce settlement. This is a trained professional that will work objectively with both parties to negotiate these terms. The benefits of a mediator are that you can avoid the emotionally draining process of a court proceeding, while at the same time avoiding the costs that go with this.

Collaborative Divorce. In their book “Collaborative Divorce: The Revolutionary New Way to Restructure Your Family, Resolve Legal Issues, and Move on with Your Life,” authors Pauline Tesler and Peggy Tomson discuss one of the most amicable types of divorce possible. Here both you and your spouse will hire your own lawyers, but rather than taking an adversarial approach to your financial and legal concerns, you and your lawyers will work together to reach a divorce settlement without having to undergo the costs of court.

The best legal option for you depends on your own situation. Mediation and Collaborative Divorce are becoming more popular in the U.S. The less adversarial the approach, the more likely that the divorce settlement can be reached quickly and with the least cost and emotional pain.

Keiko Hsu, CPC, ACC is a Change Agent & Certified Life Coach / Business Coach with 20+ years leadership experience in the corporate world. She is Founder/Owner of Wings for Women, dedicated to coaching and mentoring professional women who are going through a major life event such as a divorce. Keiko helps her clients to overcome mental blocks, achieve major goals, and reinvent themselves to create more fulfilling, joyful lives that are aligned with their passions and core values. Learn more about her services at

Wings for Women is offering a free report “Prepare Yourself for Divorce – Legally and Financially”, which you can download at

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