What You Should Know About the Most Common Types of Divorce

If you’ve started to research the divorce process, you’ll probably come across the various avenues you can take to finish the process. Everything from “collaborative divorce” to “litigated divorce” can occur, but how do you know which one you want to pursue or which one your situation will likely turn into? In this article, we’re going to talk about the forms of divorce you’re most likely to experience and what you can expect with each.

The Most Common Types of Divorce in New Mexico

In New Mexico and everywhere else across the country, divorce can quickly become a complex process, even if you don’t share many assets with your spouse or it was a short marriage. Keep in mind that your situation can shift between the different types of divorce, depending upon how your circumstances unfold. What may begin as an easy, mediated process can quickly escalate into litigation if you and your partner don’t see eye to eye.

Collaborative & Mediated Divorce

Outside of DIY divorce, a mediated divorce is often where a couple starts their process. Going down this road will require the presence of a mediator, a neutral third-party to referee settlement discussions, help the couple reach compromises and may help prepare the final documents if an agreement is reached.

A collaborative divorce is much different. They typically require the presence of many additional parties, including divorce attorneys for each spouse, a financial overseer or expert, therapist, et cetera. These divorces can involve a lot of moving parts and can therefore be expensive, but the goal of collaborative divorce is to reach a resolution that is as close to agreeable to both parties as possible and to reduce or eliminate the contention between parties often found in typical divorces.

At-Fault & No-Fault Divorce

Some states allow for At-Fault divorces. In this type of divorce, one partner can argue that the other did something substantial to cause the marriage to fail. This can be anything from adultery to a felony charge, to abandonment and even substance abuse. This marital misconduct often rewards the accuser with the divorce, in addition to alimony and a potentially large division of the shared assets and property.

On the other hand, most states, including New Mexico, are No-Fault divorce states. Meaning that “fault” and the relating reasons for the marriage failing have no bearing on the divorce itself. This necessarily means that all divorces are treated equally and the division of assets and liabilities follows standardized procedures, allowing for both parties to reach compromises where necessary.

Contested & Uncontested Divorce

In an uncontested divorce, both partners come to agreement on everything. This is obviously the ideal situation, and can be done through the assistance of a mediator or simply one or both partners having divorce attorneys to consult when necessary. A DIY divorce is a form of this, where the parties file, reach an agreement and complete the divorce themselves, without the assistance of third parties or attorney. Once the couple has reached an agreement and prepared the final documents, they need only to submit them to the Court for review and filing.

A contested divorce, however, is the process often shown in the media where each partner is at odds with the other and they cannot come to an agreement on anything on their own. This type of divorce requires court intervention in order to move the divorce process along since the parties cannot agree on their own. While it is not a requirement to have an attorney on your side in Court, it is important to have the assistance of an attorney if you are in this situation in order to properly advocate your interests and your position to the Court. Otherwise you may find yourself caught in a loop with little to no progress being made or at a disadvantage, particularly where you are representing yourself while your spouse has retained an attorney.

Default Divorce

Default divorce doesn’t occur often, but it is the result of one party not responding to the divorce proceedings or failing to appear in court. When this happens, the judge presiding over the case will typically grant the requested divorce in the absence of the other party opposing it. However, even if this is the case, it is relatively simple for the defaulted party to appear in the case later and ask the Court to “set aside” (or undo) the default judgment so they can argue their side.

When to Hire a Divorce Attorney

While a DIY divorce is ideal, it is rare for divorcing spouses to have the cooperation and understanding necessary to resolve their dispute without Court intervention. Managing your own divorce paperwork, dividing your assets, and figuring out how to un-couple all your property can be time-consuming, difficult and ill-advised in many circumstances.

If you are ready to pursue a divorce, contact the Law Office of Dorene A. Kuffer to connect with one of our divorce lawyers in Santa Fe or one of our Albuquerque divorce lawyers. Our team of family law attorneys have expertise with all forms of divorce, so we’ll walk you through each step of the process with our compassionate, thorough approach. Contact our law office today.