Even when you and your spouse agree that a divorce is the right option, it is a difficult process to undertake. Keeping things private can ease some of the stress and help proceedings resolve more efficiently. Although many people consider divorce to be an in-court process, most divorces are handled privately. A Springfield divorce attorney can help you and your spouse find an effective way to navigate your separation that is easier on your whole family.

Every divorce is different, and not every couple will be able to reach a solution through alternative dispute resolution (ADR) methods. If you and your spouse are able to work together or cooperate with the process, it can save you both time, money, stress, and the public aspect of litigation.

Understanding Alternative Dispute Resolution

ADR enables you and your spouse to work collaboratively and negotiate the terms of your divorce without the control of the family court. You can find compromises and solutions to aspects of divorce like the division of assets and debts, alimony, child custody, child support, and other discussions specific to your situation. This keeps potentially sensitive discussions out of the public record, which can help spouses be more open to talking about these issues.

Spouses are able to use ADR to negotiate the aspects of their divorce that they can agree on. It is possible to use ADR for some aspects of the separation agreement and have the court decide the rest. This can still provide some of the benefits of ADR.

It also allows couples to have the final say on their divorce’s terms. Once a separation agreement has been finalized, it must be approved by the family court, but the court will almost always approve an agreement that spouses make together. ADR methods can create a potential plan for child custody and support, but it cannot make a final resolution without the court. The court will typically only refuse an agreement if it is unfair to either spouse or does not provide for a child’s interests.

Divorce Mediation

Divorce mediation occurs when spouses privately negotiate the terms of their separation agreement with the help of a mediator. The mediator may be an attorney or another professional.

The mediator does not advocate for either spouse’s needs but instead helps guide spouses to discuss necessary issues and create a space for healthy negotiation. If spouses cannot find a solution, the mediator can help with potential creative resolutions. The mediator can also review the agreement to determine if it is likely to be approved by the court.

In some divorce mediations, spouses work only with a mediator. In others, there is a mediator, and each spouse is represented by their own attorney. In either case, there is an objective third party present to help spouses cooperate to their benefit.

Collaborative Divorce

Collaborative divorce is similar to divorce mediation, as it is an out-of-court method of negotiation. However, in a collaborative divorce, each spouse is always represented by their own attorney, and there is no mediator. Each spouse and their attorney will advocate for their own interests while working collaboratively toward the separation agreement.

Like mediation, the court will typically approve a couple’s wishes for most aspects of a divorce, but it may make alterations to parents’ wishes for child custody and support, depending on the child’s interests.

Benefits of Alternative Dispute Resolution

There are several potential benefits to handling your divorce through ADR, in addition to the process being private. These include:

  • Less time-consuming. Spouses have more flexibility for scheduling their negotiations rather than relying on the availability of the court.
  • More efficient. Reaching a conclusion in a meditative or collaborative divorce is typically faster than litigation.
  • Less expensive. Attorney fees for ADR are usually much lower, and the faster timeline means that the hourly cost will add up to less money spent. Additionally, you have fewer court costs to worry about.


Q: Can You File Your Own Divorce in Missouri Without a Lawyer?

A: Yes, it is possible to file for a divorce in Missouri with a divorce lawyer. It can be beneficial to work with an attorney to ensure that the form is filed correctly, but it is possible to do it yourself. However, once you begin the divorce proceedings, it is even more important to have an attorney by your side.

Whether you are navigating an out-of-court method of divorce or are litigating the divorce, you need an attorney to protect your rights, guide discussions, and advocate for you and your family’s needs.

Q: What Are the Options for Divorce in Missouri?

A: Options for divorce in Missouri depend on your situation. There are two ways a divorce is filed: contested or uncontested. When couples agree on the terms of their divorce, such as how property is divided or the awarding of alimony, their divorce is uncontested. This also applies to spouses who are willing to negotiate the terms of a separation agreement.

When spouses are unable to agree on the terms of a separation agreement, the divorce is considered contested. A contested divorce also occurs when spouses do not even agree on getting a divorce.

Q: Can a Spouse Refuse a Divorce in Missouri?

A: A spouse can refuse to get a divorce in Missouri, but this does not prevent the divorce from happening. Instead, it makes the process a contested divorce. If the spouse is unwilling to attempt methods such as collaborative divorce, then the divorce becomes litigated. If the spouse does not show up for proceedings, there may be a default divorce.

It is not in a spouse’s interests to allow a default divorce, as this means that anything the petitioning spouse requested for property division, alimony, or child custody will likely be granted.

Q: What Is the Cheapest Way to Get a Divorce in Missouri?

A: The cheapest way to get a divorce in Missouri is by getting an uncontested divorce. The least expensive method to divorce is to get an uncontested divorce and mediate the divorce privately. Divorce mediation requires only one mediator to help spouses discuss and create a more effective separation agreement.

Because mediation is under the control of each spouse, needs only one attorney, and can usually be resolved faster, it is much quicker. Spouses still must go to court to have the agreement approved, but this takes significantly less time and money than multiple court dates.

Contact Stange Law Firm in Springfield, MO

ADR is not the right option for every divorce. If you are unsure of the ideal way to navigate your divorce for your family’s benefit, get advice from a qualified attorney. Contact the team at Stange Law Firm today.