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The kinder, gentler divorce

It is not hard to find a country music song about love gone wrong and divorce, but does splitting up always have to end in an ugly legal battle? Not really, if both parties can agree to a non-adversarial divorce method.

It’s hard to find an area in the law with more important issues than those common in divorce, such as property division, child support and spousal support. Therefore, most people enter the divorce process with the idea that there must be a “winner” and a “loser.” However, many states have developed a more collaborative approach to divorce, intended to facilitate an agreement that lets both parties leave the marriage a “winner.”

Mississippi has not adopted an actual “collaborative divorce” law, but a divorce based upon irreconcilable differences is close to that process. The irreconcilable difference process is designed to allow couples who have agreed to get a divorce to work out a settlement that best meets the needs of both parties and the children without litigation. Mississippi’s irreconcilable differences divorce process will, however, allow the divorcing couple to submit specific issues to a court for determination if there is general agreement but certain areas on which the parties can’t agree.

There are many advantages to such a non-adversarial divorce. It is a voluntary and mutually agreed upon outcome after full disclosure of the facts. Therefore, the process doesn’t determine a “winner” and a “loser” and is far less emotionally damaging to the parties and the family. Another big advantage is that it is more cost effective than litigation in which the parties are paying each attorney to fight one another. Furthermore, because the parties are working together to find a mutual agreement, it tends to move faster toward a resolution than other adversarial methods.

If you have any questions about how you can achieve a kinder and gentler divorce, please call my office, and we will be happy to discuss the process with you.


Kathy Brown van Zutphen is an attorney licensed to practice law in Alabama and Mississippi. She focuses on the “elder law” areas of trusts, estates and conservatorships. Additionally, she litigates lawsuits and represents small business owners as part of her legal practice. Visit her website to learn more: www.coastwidelaw.com or reach her at her office: (228) 357-5227.

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