2021 Legal Process Page

DIVORCE FACT  Approximately 5% of divorce cases go to trial.  This means that 95% of cases are settled with both spouses cooperating with each other, individual or mutual attorneys, mediators or other methods.

It's important to speak with an attorney in your residing state for guidance relevant to the specific laws and process.  Some states require a separation period and/or couples therapy before the process can be completed.  Also, depending if your state is a Community Property or Equitable Distribution state, you may also proceed differently.  DMK has put together a general process of events, types of divorce and legal guide to provide you an idea of what to expect during the process.

There are numerous ways to process divorce. It will be important to know each option available in your state in order to choose the right divorce plan for you and your spouse. We have listed several methods below. This list may not represent all options or may have an option not offered in your state so discuss the laws of your state with your attorney as they pertain to your specific circumstances.

Also, refer to the DMK article Legal Process for Divorce for comprehensive information related to the overall process and types of divorce offered as they correspond to the methods to establish a divorce, as listed below.


Not offered in all states.

Each spouse hires his/her own attorney to represent each in the divorce process.

The attorneys do not go to court to litigate the divorce, but negotiate the terms of the divorce to include: alimony, child support, custody & property distribution.

Usually this type of divorce is more affordable than other options such as divorce litigation.


Not offered in all states.

A mediator will work with each spouse to resolve the negotiations related to the settlement to include, but not limited to: support, custody, asset and debt allocation and other terms of the settlement agreement.

Often, when spouses wish to avoid court or further legal expenses and their attorney's have reached an impasse, they are referred to a mediator.

The couple can hire a mediator independently or one can be appointed by a court or referred by an attorney.

Both spouses share a mutual attorney or a mediator to manage the negotiations of the divorce settlement but does not provide resolution like a judge.

In some states the mediator is not required to be licensed, mandated by any governing board or have formal training.