Certified Financial Analyst, Boulder Colorado

Divorce Options

Name Description Best Used For Advantages Disadvantages
Legal Separation Separated by law, but not yet divorced
  • Couple does not want to finalize divorce
  • Religious or other reasons
  • Can have child support, maintenance, and property settlement
  • Gives children and spouse time to adjust
  • Gives couple time to settle property
  • May retain health insurance
  • May prolong process
  • May be more expensive
  • "New life" may not be possible
Pro-Se Divorces filed without the assistance of an attorney, sometimes by purchase of divorce kits. Spouses can complete them, and pay the filing fee.
  • Couples with few disputes
  • Couples with few assets – and those easily divisible
  • Childless couples
  • Inexpensive
  • Fairly quick
  • May make legal mistakes
  • May make financial errors calculating maintenance or division of property & debt llocation
  • Don’t have anyone on your side, attorney or financial planner.
Mediation Couple uses a mediator to help voluntarily settle disputes over issues. Mediator may help draw up paperwork

Mediator may or may not be an attorney

  • Couples who have issues to settle, but nothing that has to go to court
  • Can be less expensive than traditional method
  • Neutral third party, experienced in mediation
  • Less adversarial
  • No one completely "on your side"
  • Not appropriate if spouse becomes difficult
  • May need to resort to traditional divorce
  • Either party (or both) may decide to retain attorney
  • Even if mediator is an attorney, each may need review of paperwork by separate attorney (QDROs, etc.)
Single Attorney for couple
  • Couple retains a single attorney to file for divorce for both.
  • All paperwork completed and filed by attorney

Note: Ethically, attorney may only represent one party

  • Reasonable, amicable divorces
  • Less expensive than 2 attorneys
  • Less adversarial
  • Can be a fairly quick process
  • One party has attorney, the other does not
  • Not appropriate if spouse becomes difficult
  • Each side has an attorney
  • May or may not be adversarial
  • Includes Requests for information, required status conferences and negotiating


  • Situations where spouse is difficult, non-cooperative
  • Someone completely on your side
  • Expert confidential legal advice
  • Most comfortable, and conservative approach
  • Can be adversarial
  • Can be expensive
  • Is not always a cooperative experience
  • May become a longer process
Collaborative A fairly new approach to divorce.
  • Each side has attorney
  • Each side has access to specialists (therapists, divorce planners, etc.)
  • All professionals have been trained in collaborative process
  • All agree to collaboration and working together to resolve issues
  • If this fails, the attorneys drop out, and the spouses retain other counsel – and may go to the traditional divorce method or other method
  • Couples with significant assets, and disputes, but who are willing to go through mediation-type process divorce
  • Less expensive than a traditional contested
  • May be more productive
  • Each party has a person looking out for their best interests
  • Can be more costly than some other methods
  • Not appropriate if spouse becomes very difficult, intractable
  • If process breaks down, spouses may need to get different attorneys