The simple answer is yes… but maybe not in the way that you think. You must file court papers, and have a judge sign off to finalise your divorce. However, you are not required to fight everything out in court to settle your affairs. There are many options available to have your divorce issues resolved in private. Typically, you will need to resolve four issues: parenting arrangements, child support, spousal support, and division of property. Here are some of your options to workout your issues:
Negotiate: You and the other party, either yourselves or through your lawyers, work out a settlement, and put it into a separation agreement. This agreement may be incorporated into your divorce papers.
Mediate: You and the other party will come together in one room and talk out your issues with a neutral 3rd party. The mediator will assist you and your spouse to come to an agreement based on what is important to your family. This setting allows for open discussion and candidness.
Collaborative Process: You and the other party, together with your lawyers, will work together in a series of 4-way meetings, again focusing on what is important to your family. In this process, you formally opt-out of going to court to resolve your matrimonial issues.
Once you have come to an agreement, the process of divorce usually becomes a simple matter of filing the appropriate documents in court and awaiting the judge’s stamp of approval.