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Does a person need an attorney for a collaborative divorce?

Divorce is a complicated legal process that terminates the legal bond between two married people. When a divorce is complete the partners to a legal marriage are no longer linked under the law and are free to marry other individuals. In Virginia, residents have options for how they can pursue divorce to end their marriages.

Some people choose to use the courts and the litigation process to get divorced. This is the traditional path to divorce and involves the parties, their attorneys, and a judge. Litigated divorces tend to put the decision-making power in the hands of judges who have the final say on how divorce orders are drafted. While individuals can offer their own opinions to the courts and advocate for what they think is best, final decision-making power generally resides in the judges.

Others may use alternative dispute resolution paths to divorce. Mediation occurs when individuals meet with a mediator and no attorneys to discuss and negotiate the terms of their divorces. Collaborative divorces involve attorneys but not judges. When the partners to a marriage decide that they want to be in control of their divorce decisions but wish to have legal representation and advocacy with them while doing so, collaborative divorce may be a useful choice for them.

The different paths that individuals can take to divorce in Virginia can be complicated and confusing. In order to get clear answers that apply to the divorces of readers, individuals can contact divorce attorneys who work in both litigation and collaborative law. This post is an introduction to an important legal topic and should not be read as specific legal advice.

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