Divorce Without Court: What Are Alternative Options to Divorce?


While sometimes the process of going through litigation is unavoidable in certain divorce circumstances, not all paths lead to the courtroom. A couple of options exist for alternative routes to traditional divorce. Let’s compare and contrast how both the mediation and collaboration approach divorce without court.

Options to Avoid Court

Mediation encourages the parties to work through their conflict in order to avoid the courtroom and does not require the couple to have legal representation. A certified mediator listens to the challenges both parties are facing, guides them to compromisation, and guides the parties to an agreement. Collaborative divorce provides specialized legal representation and professional guidance in various capacities to each help lead both parties to a settlement outside of the courtroom. This method empowers the divorcing couple to work through their differences and come to a lasting settlement agreement.

Communication Between the Couple

Mediation encourages sharing and working through emotions as the mediator navigates the party away from their hard-line stances and toward acceptance of change. The mediator never takes sides and instead works to strike a balance between each individual and their place at the table. Collaboration requires respect and promotes a safe and dignified environment for discussion. The process of collaborative divorce begins with a signed agreement between both parties that contains a commitment to treating one another with respect and putting in the work to avoid the courtroom.


While litigation details may be made public, these alternative approaches to divorce have an additional layer of privacy; there is no formal record of testimony and after resolution the pleadings are minimal. 

Family Impact

In both mediation and collaborative divorce, the stability and impact on the children are placed at the forefront. During mediation, the mediator encourages both parties to come to a custody agreement that is in the best interest of the child. Hashing out emotions and discussing conflict with an unbiased third party can help divorcing couples keep their children out of the disagreements while fostering positive co-parenting relationships. This same mindset is applied to custody discussions during collaboration, often with the addition of a child specialist who advocates for the interests of the children.

Still unsure which path to divorce is right for you? At Shafer Law Firm, we have several skilled attorneys happy to assist you and answer any questions about divorce that you may have. Contact us for more information.

About the Author: Kyle M. Janes

Kyle grew up in Meadville and attended Meadville Area Senior High. He attended college at Allegheny College. Upon graduating from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, Kyle returned to Meadville to serve the community where he grew up.

Kyle has a diverse family law practice, including divorce, support, custody, juvenile dependency, adoption, pre-nuptial agreements, protection from abuse, and other domestic relations issues. His compassion for his clients and his knowledge of the law allow him to work on a full range of cases, from simple to complex.

This content is provided for general informational purposes only, and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information contained in this post should be construed as legal advice, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any information included in, or accessible through, this Post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.

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