This blog is about family which means "going to court" right? Actually, there are several different approaches that couples choose to end their relationship and associated obligations. The most well-known of course is litigation, which is the procedure of filing a claim (complaint) at the courthouse, and allowing a judge to decide the issues in your case. Often, this is the most expensive option, and can be a very lengthy process. Odds are, neither you or your spouse will be pleased with the result...everyone wants to believe the judge will see it their way but there are no guarantees how the judge will decide your case. Along the way, or sometimes instead of litigation, the parties or their attorneys will engage in negotiation and may be able to come to an agreement. Another option is mediation, where the parties meet with a neutral mediator (who may or may not be an attorney) and try to resolve all or some of the issues. It is very common for the court to order mediation in a divorce case that is being litigated as well. Yet another method is arbitration, in which the parties choose a neutral person to decide the issues, sort of like litigation, but the parties have more control and can decide what sort of evidence the arbitrator will use, and the costs can be lower than litigation. All of the above methods can even be used in conjunction. Finally, there is a totally different and newer method of resolving disputes called collaborative law. In a collaborative law case, the parties and their attorneys agree that they are committed to resolving the case, and in fact, the attorneys may not represent the parties in court if they case does not resolve. It is a unique process in that other professionals such as mental health experts, child experts and financial professionals can be used to help the parties make the right decisions for your family.