A divorce in Nassau or Suffolk Counties may be unpleasant — no divorce is ever enjoyable — but it does not need to be a terrible experience. With the right attitude, expectations and legal representation, ending a marriage on Long Island can be almost as easy as starting one.

“Messy” divorces are usually contested divorces, which pit spouse against spouse for control of property, assets and — the one thing you want to avoid fights over — children and child custody. These are often expensive and prolonged processes that are demoralizing and hurtful. The good news is that there are other ways to avoid a contested divorce if spouses agree on important main points.

An uncontested divorce is a good option for two spouses who both want a divorce and agree at least in principle on the disposition of property and arrangements for child custody. Attorneys may be able to help spouses resolve any outstanding issues and legal requirements for an uncontested divorce.

If there are a few more areas of disagreement, such as what constitutes marital property versus individual property, spouses may opt for another alternative to divorce — mediation. This process often generates divorce settlements that all parties find acceptable. Nassau and Suffolk Counties are both in the 10th Judicial District, which offers spousal mediation services.

Another alternative to contested divorce is collaborative divorce. Spouses and any other parties to the agreement meet with or through legal representation to address any issues that require attention before settlement. This process is often highly recommended by attorneys for the spouses during the divorce process.

Source: FindLaw, “Your Long Island Divorce: The Basics,” accessed Jan. 10, 2018