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Getting divorced can be an emotional and stressful experience in Washington or anywhere across the country. Time in court, decisions regarding child custody and maintenance, as well as asset distribution, are just a few of the issues that a person may face. This stress is why some in our state are considering other alternatives to the traditional divorce process.

In Washington a person typically files for a divorce with the local court. After the filing, there are court hearings and documents to be produced, and the litigation proceeds along its scheduled path to a trial if the parties do not reach a settlement. However, some are looking to alternatives such as mediation or collaborative divorce for assistance.

In mediation, an independent third party works with the parties to negotiate a compromise in an effort to resolve issues in the divorce. The mediation can include all open issues, including child custody and division of assets and debts. In many instances, a successful mediation can lead to a divorce agreement that is in the best interest of all involved. In other cases, however, the court must intervene if one spouse fails to agree or legal issues persist.

Another option for some is the collaborative divorce. Like mediation, this form of negotiation can result in an agreement between the parties who have worked together to achieve it and that is enforceable once approved by the court. However, authorities note that couples that have experienced domestic violence or those who suspect that one spouse may be hiding assets should consider using the more traditional divorce methods.

In Washington there are many options to review as one considers filing for divorce. It may do well for a person to review all available information as they consider how to proceed in this sometimes arduous process. A consideration of the temperament of the parties may also be in order prior to agreeing to any of the alternative forms of divorce negotiations.