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Divorce doesn't have to be a battle

Here are some common assumptions about divorce: it has to be acrimonious; it has to be litigious; it has to be expensive; it has to be time-consuming; it has to compromise your dignity. While divorce is certainly a major upheaval, there is no rule saying that divorce has to be a devastating battle. Alternative dispute resolution is a cost-efficient, low-conflict way of ending a marriage, and more Canadians considering divorce should be aware of their options for making the process as smooth as possible.

In Alberta, court proceedings under the Matrimonial Property Act, the Divorce Act and the Family Law Act can drag on for years. The courts recognize the burden and stress this situation places on spouses who want to end their marriage and move on with their lives. Alternative dispute resolution is encouraged by the courts, and you can enter into mediation or collaboration at any point in the divorce proceedings. An increasing number of spouses are able to avoid court altogether by choosing these methods.

Generally, if parents are ending their marriage, then mediation helps limit the stress placed on the children. Mediated divorces also tend to proceed more quickly than divorces that are handled in court.  Because you're not litigating in the formal setting of the courtroom, it is possible to save time and money.

The various reasons for divorce are very personal, but if you go to court, then the record of your case becomes public. Alternatively, an out-of-court, collaborative process helps to protect your privacy.

To be sure, litigation is sometimes necessary, but before leaping into a court battle, divorcing spouses may benefit from exploring more peaceful options.

Source: MetroNews Canada, "Why you should opt for a common-sense divorce," Gail Vaz-Oxlade, Aug. 11, 2014

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