There is no “one size fits all” approach to divorce that meets the unique needs of every couple. If you and your spouse are ending your marriage, know that you can potentially take a few different approaches to this process.
Divorces are broadly characterized as either contentious or non-contentious. Contentious divorces involve fundamental differences between spouses that can only be resolved by a judge ruling in favor of one party’s position or the other. Non-contentious divorces allow couples to seek mutually agreeable divorce settlement terms so that their fate doesn’t rest with the courts.
When a contentious process makes sense
When one or both spouses have a history of domestic violence against the other, a non-contentious process is generally inadvisable. Additionally, if a couple’s fundamental differences are well-grounded, rolling the dice on a contentious process may be worth the risk.
For example, if you genuinely believe that your child’s best interests won’t be well-served by a joint custody arrangement and your spouse fundamentally disagrees, it may be worth fighting for your preferred custody arrangement in court.
When a non-contentious approach is a superior option
Generally speaking, if you and your spouse are in a position to resolve your differences without compromising on an equitable division of your assets and a fair, workable custody arrangement (if applicable), it is preferable to embrace a non-contentious approach to divorce. That way, you can decide your future instead of deferring to a judge.
There are a variety of ways to reach a mutually agreeable settlement. You can draft an agreement and have a lawyer formalize and finalize it. You and your spouse can participate in mediation. Or you can explore attorney-led negotiations.
Keep in mind that there is no right or wrong way to approach divorce. Whether you settle on a contentious or non-contentious approach, the best option is simply the one that gives you the greatest opportunity to protect your interests.