Alternatives to the Traditional Divorce Case

A divorce is processed through the Alaska court system like any other civil case is. However, there are alternatives to traditional divorce – and one of them may be right for you.

The Life Cycle of a Traditional Divorce Case in Alaska

In a traditional divorce case, both spouses retain attorneys. One spouse, the “plaintiff,” files a complaint for divorce against the other spouse; the “defendant” (the other spouse) files an answer to the complaint.

The case is randomly assigned to a judge, who will then be responsible for signing all of your documents and, eventually, granting your divorce.

Adversarial Divorce: It’s Not the Only Answer

Judges certainly encourage attorneys and their clients to work cooperatively. However, the court process is based upon an adversarial system that naturally pits people against each other as each attorney argues in favor of his or her client’s position.

Consequently, divorce litigation is financially draining because of the amount of time and legal fees involved. It’s also emotionally draining; it is almost impossible for an attorney to give a client peace-of-mind about how the judge is going to rule on the points of contention between the parties.

Alternatives to Adversarial Divorce

Fortunately, there are alternatives to adversarial divorce cases. These alternatives seek to build a consensus between the parties on issues related to property, custody, child support and spousal support.


The first alternative is mediation. In divorce mediation, a neutral third party works with you and your spouse to identify issues on which you do not agree. He or she will assist you and your spouse so you can reach an agreement on all financial and child-related divorce issues. The mediator cannot give advice to either of you, so it is quite common for each spouse to have an attorney present at mediation sessions. 

Collaborative Divorce

The second alternative is the collaborative law process. Unlike mediation, the collaborative law process does not involve a neutral third party.

A collaborative divorce requires you and your spouse to each hire an attorney whose role is to assist you in reaching an agreement on all divorce issues. The main purpose of collaborative divorce is to keep you out of court.

The attorneys may bring other collaborative professionals including coaches, child specialists and financial planners into the process for guidance and information. 

Posted in: Divorce