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August 26, 2019

Strategies to Avoid Going to Court in a Divorce

strategies to avoide going to court in a divorce in South Carolina

A divorce is an extremely emotional situation, and going to court to resolve issues such as the division of property and determining which parent gets custody of the children can increase the acrimony. Court proceedings often require the parties to engage in a bitter, public conflict that can have long-term psychological effects on themselves as well as their children. A prolonged legal battle can also get expensive when you consider court costs, attorney fees and the possibility of missing work to attend hearings.

Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) is a process that enables divorcing couples to attempt to reach an agreement without going to court. ADR can save time, reduce expenses and avoid the stress and bitterness that often accompany court proceedings. It also gives the parties more control over the outcome of their case. Alternative dispute resolution in a divorce case is mandatory in all 46 South Carolina counties. Available methods include negotiation, mediation and arbitration.

Negotiation

Negotiation is the simplest type of alternative dispute resolution in a divorce case, and it’s often the first course of action. The partners sit down together, with or without attorneys, and attempt to come to a mutual understanding regarding issues such as alimony, the division of assets and debts and child custody arrangements.

Mediation

In some cases, the couple may not be able to negotiate a settlement and may require some outside help. A mediator is a neutral third party who has the expertise to guide the parties through the negotiation process. Mediators do not take sides or attempt to force the couple to make decisions. Their role is to facilitate a good-faith discussion between the two parties. If the mediation is successful, the mediator will draw up an agreement, which the South Carolina family court will incorporate into the divorce decree.

A skilled mediator can provide some perspective and insight that can aid the couple in their decision-making process, which can increase the likelihood of a positive outcome. Mediation is also less expensive and time-consuming than going to court, and the discussions remain private.

Arbitration

Divorce arbitration in South Carolina can be the best solution for couples that want someone else to make a decision for them without having to go to court. A professional arbitrator will hear the cases presented by both sides and then render a decision. If the couple chooses binding arbitration, the arbitrator’s ruling becomes part of a contract between the two parties. Non-binding arbitration, where the parties aren’t required to abide by the ruling, is also available.

Lauren Taylor Law Can Help You Explore Your Options

If you’re in Charleston, South Carolina and facing a divorce, Lauren Taylor Law can assist you in determining and pursuing the best strategy in your situation. Attorney Taylor has extensive experience handling family law cases, and she can also represent you in your negotiation, mediation or arbitration sessions.

Contact Lauren Taylor Law right away to learn more and schedule an initial consultation.