Ending a marriage is a multifaceted process, and every couple who begins divorce proceedings in Wichita, KS, will face unique challenges as they navigate their case. If you are preparing to end your marriage, you likely have many pressing legal questions about what you can expect from the process. An experienced attorney is an invaluable asset in this situation. They can prepare you for what to expect in your divorce and help you understand your options for resolving the case.

When many people think of divorce, they imagine heated shouting matches unfolding in impersonal courtroom settings. However, litigation, or resolving your case through the court system, may be necessary depending on the unique details of your divorce and the issues you and your spouse must resolve to complete your dissolution. This is a lengthy, expensive, and stressful process. Additionally, it can be very disempowering for anyone to realize the outcome of their divorce rests entirely in the hands of the judge.

The drawbacks of divorce litigation entice many couples in the Wichita area and throughout the United States to explore alternative dispute resolution. Similar to private settlement negotiations in a personal injury claim or other civil suit, alternative dispute resolution is an effective choice for any divorcing couple who wishes to avoid the stress and expense of litigation. With the right attorney representing you, it’s possible to take full advantage of the benefits of alternative dispute resolution, even if some litigation is necessary to finalize your divorce.

How Does Alternative Dispute Resolution Work in Wichita?

The two most commonly used forms of alternative dispute resolution in Kansas are collaborative divorce and mediation. Collaborative divorce entails spouses and their respective legal representatives meeting privately to negotiate all their divorce terms item by item. This allows both spouses to avoid the courtroom’s stressful and sometimes imposing atmosphere. They also have more direct control over the outcome of their divorce as long as both are willing to compromise.

Mediation is similar but involves a third party who guides the couple’s negotiations. The mediator may not hold any conflicts of interest favoring either spouse, nor may they provide any direct legal advice to either party. Their job is to keep negotiations focused and productive. They may host sessions collaboratively with both spouses and their attorneys present, as well as individual sessions with each spouse. The mediator drafts the couple’s divorce order as they negotiate their divorce terms.

Alternative dispute resolution can essentially unfold at the convenience of the divorcing spouses. Depending on how cooperative they are during negotiations and how detailed their divorce is, a couple could potentially complete their alternative dispute resolution proceedings in weeks. Compared to litigation that can take several months to more than a year to complete, mediation or collaborative divorce can save divorcing spouses tremendous amounts of time, money, and stress.

When Is Divorce Litigation Necessary?

Resolving your divorce privately may be the more attractive option in your case, but it’s important to remember that not all divorce-related issues can be settled in alternative dispute resolution. Specifically, divorcing parents cannot reach any firm decisions regarding child custody or child support in Kansas. A family court judge must rule on the case by assessing the needs and interests of the couple’s children.

Beyond issues pertaining to child custody and support, other complex issues in a divorce may demand formal legal review in litigation. High net worth divorce cases, for example, commonly involve very technical and contentious financial matters that require investigation and a family court judge’s opinion. Divorcing spouses may dispute one another’s separate property ownership claims, or one spouse may be completely unwilling to negotiate certain aspects of their divorce, demanding the court’s involvement. While most divorcing couples prefer avoiding litigation whenever possible, this isn’t an option in some cases.

Important Details to Remember About Alternative Dispute Resolution

Ultimately, most divorces in the Wichita, KS, area involve alternative dispute resolution followed by some measure of litigation. As you prepare for your divorce, think about which issues are likely to be the most contentious between you and your spouse. If the two of you can discuss your impending divorce civilly before the filing of a divorce petition, this could be a good opportunity to identify the areas of your divorce where you and your spouse agree and disagree the most.

Outlining your divorce in this manner can be beneficial to both of you. Once you secure legal representation, your attorney will help you determine the best approach to resolving the various facets of your case, from child custody and support to property division and alimony. The sooner you secure legal counsel, the more likely you are to fully capitalize on the best legal options available to you.

Do I Really Need to Hire an Attorney?

Technically, there is no official requirement to hire a divorce attorney. A divorcing spouse can represent their interests in alternative dispute resolution or litigation. Unfortunately, some people make the mistake of thinking their spouses are agreeable enough for this to be a realistic approach. They could also make the mistake of assuming their divorces are less complex than they truly are.

Any potential savings you may see by handling your case alone will be quickly eclipsed by the total impact of trying to handle a divorce yourself. A good attorney can help you negotiate much better terms for property division, child custody, and other aspects of your divorce. The sooner you secure legal counsel, the more time your attorney has to prepare you for your case. When you choose an experienced attorney, you may be surprised at what they might reveal as your case unfolds.

Divorce can be a tedious and emotionally charged process, and it is possible for divorced spouses to be compelled back to family court later. Family court orders are more flexible than most other civil court orders due to the fact that life can present unpredictable problems to anyone due to forces entirely beyond their control. Some of these problems directly influence their standing in family court orders. Whatever your situation may entail, reliable legal representation is the best asset to have on your side when navigating family court proceedings.