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Contested litigation in the courtroom: there are other options

If you're a Massachusetts resident seeking to get a divorce, you might reasonably harbor some trepidation regarding what is centrally involved in the process.

And you would hardly be alone for having some fears and doubts. After all, divorce is not exactly a commonplace occurrence for most people.

Given that, you can suddenly find yourself dwelling ceaselessly on important matters you never considered before. How do we work things out optimally for the kids? What happens to the house? If marital property is marked by substantial assets across diverse categories, how can it be equitably divided?

For many people, such thoughts are coupled with a strong desire to avoid outright conflict and to retain, to the maximum degree possible, civility during the divorce process and following marital dissolution.

Increasingly, that results in more couples investigating divorce options other than the "traditional" divorce trappings that are commonly associated with a courtroom and the close oversight of a judge.

An adversarial divorce in court is often linked with extreme formalism and an almost antiseptic atmosphere. Couples have little control or autonomy over the process, and routinely surrender important decision-making powers to a government official who is, after all, a stranger and a largely disinterested third party.

There are alternatives. As noted in an online overview of so-called "alternative dispute resolution," arbitration is an avenue that is profitably pursued by many divorcing couples.

At the Law Offices of Lisa A. Ruggieri, P.C., in Wellesley, our family law attorneys readily endorse arbitration and other ADR alternatives to formally litigated divorce in some cases.

We have often assisted clients in arbitration, helping them with all their family law matters and ensuring that they are well connected with other parties often central to the process (for example, vocational experts, child psychologists, accountants and retired judges who can serve as neutral third-party decision makers).

We welcome readers' contacts to the firm soliciting information and advice regarding divorce arbitration and other marriage-ending options that can avoid many of the stresses that are commonly linked with a traditional courtroom setting.

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