If you and your partner can't agree on what should happen after you separate, you can get help from a family law professional to work through your issues or make a decision for you. You can ask for this help at any time – when trying to resolve things on your own, making a separation agreement, or going through the court process.
Family law professionals use different ways, or processes, to help resolve issues. These processes are sometimes called alternative dispute resolution methods (ADR). This is because they are options other than going to court. Some of these processes are:
Some of the reasons to use ADR instead of going to court are:
- You have more control over what happens to your case.
- It can be faster and cheaper.
- It can be less stressful.
- It takes place in a private setting.
But, there are some situations where ADR may not be best for you, such as:
- You're afraid of your partner because of a history of partner abuse.
- There are serious mental health or drug abuse issues.
- You can't talk to your partner even with help.
- You can't work cooperatively with your partner even with help.
Sometimes, even in these situations, a family law professional can work in a way to make the process fair and safe for you.