Written by Craig Cherney

Find Out of Court Divorce Settlement Options with ADR

Did you know that you do not have to go to court to get divorced? You can negotiate your divorce settlement with your spouse by using different types of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR).

People who are willing to work together and want to avoid having a judge make decisions for them will find collaborative divorce an excellent option. Not only can it help to reduce costs, but it can also reduce stress, negative feelings, and excessive fighting.

Divorce doesn’t have to be stressful and expensive. Alternative Dispute Resolution refers to the use of methods such as mediation and collaborative process to resolve the issues involved in a divorce instead of litigation.

Out of court divorce options include:

Collaborative Divorce

Collaborative divorce is a private, out-of-court process that can provide a path to a peaceful divorce even if you and your spouse are not necessarily in agreement on financial and child-related issues coming into the process. In a collaborative divorce, each spouse has a lawyer to advocate for their interests. In most collaborative cases, the spouses work with a neutral financial professional to help gather and interpret information about their assets and debts as well as their income and expenses. A communication specialist will help the spouses to have difficult conversations and to keep the focus on their family’s future. A child specialist can help the children to have a voice in the process. The professional team will help the spouses to focus on solutions that will produce the best outcome for the entire family.

Learn more about Collaborative Divorce

Divorce Mediation

Mediation is a process where a neutral third party, known as a mediator, works with both parties to facilitate agreements regarding all of their divorce issues. Mediation is usually less expensive than a traditional/litigated divorce and often helps the parties reach full agreements. This process allows the spouses to determine the outcome of their divorce rather than letting a judge decide. In mediation, the parties have the option to be represented by attorneys or to represent themselves.

Learn more about Divorce Mediation


Arbitration is a process where someone other than a judge is given authority to make decisions. An arbitrator may try to help the parties find common ground, but ultimately, they will make decisions regarding issues that are within the scope of their authority. Once a decision is made, it is legally binding.

Can You Settle a Divorce Out of Court?

With Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), it is possible to settle your divorce out of court, without a judge’s ruling, and to negotiate a fair divorce settlement.

What is Alternative Dispute Resolution?

Definition: Alternative Dispute Resolution refers to different processes that are intended to help parties settle disputes without litigation. In divorce, alternative dispute resolution can be used to resolve many types of disputes including division of assets and debts, parenting time and legal decision making, family support obligations and more.

ADR is so effective even the American Bar Association typically recommends this as the first step on the way toward avoiding going to court for a resolution of a divorce.

Advantages of Settling Divorce Out of Court

The advantages of settling your divorce out of court include:

  • Typically takes less time
  • Typically costs less money (depending on many factors)
  • Simplifies the discovery process (which often makes divorce more expensive)
  • More communication between spouses during negotiations
  • More control over terms
  • Greater say over which professionals can help you settle your dispute
  • Allows for a wide range of resolution possibilities to settle disagreements

Should I Settle My Divorce Out of Court?

If couples are willing to negotiate key terms of the divorce, an out of court divorce may work. However, if you and your spouse are not willing to negotiate – well, then you may have to let a judge make the final decision. If both spouses are willing to work together to reach a fair agreement, collaborative divorce or divorce mediation are an excellent choice for reducing costs, stress, and coming to a mutually beneficial outcome.


  1. “Divorce and Out-of-Court Proceedings: Alternative Dispute Resolution.” Findlaw, https://family.findlaw.com/divorce/divorce-and-out-of-court-proceedings-alternative-dispute.html.
  2. “Why It Pays To Settle Your Divorce Out Of Court.” Dads Divorce, 25 Oct. 2017, https://dadsdivorce.com/articles/pays-settle-divorce-court/.
  3. Guillen, Lina. “What Is a Divorce Settlement Agreement?” www.divorcenet.com, Nolo, 5 Apr. 2013, https://www.divorcenet.com/states/nationwide/what_is_a_settlement_agreement.

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Speak with Our Divorce Mediators In Arizona Today!

While the divorce mediation process is not for everyone, this process can save you money, stress, and hassle. Speak with a divorce mediator to find out if divorce mediation is right for your family. Many of the professionals on BestLegalChoices.com are also divorce mediators and can provide you with a great deal of information about your options.


Divorce litigation can be scary and emotionally draining for you, your spouse, and your children. But it doesn’t have to be that way with collaborative divorce. The collaborative process can result in a less expensive, more efficient, and less harmful outcome for everyone involved. One of the legalfinancial, and communication professionals at Best Legal Choices can help you navigate this difficult time in your life.