Can we stop our family case and try to solve our problems another way?

Even if you start a family law court case, you might be able to talk with your partner and try to resolve your issues out of court. You can do this in different ways. For example, you and your partner may agree to pause your case. Or you can ask the court to adjourn your next court date to a later date to give you more time to talk.

You can talk to your partner on your own or with the help of someone you . This could be a family member, a friend, a colleague, or a religious advisor.

You can also get help from a lawyer or family law professional, such as a mediator or arbitrator. Family law professionals are trained to help you reach an agreement or make a decision for you. They use (ADR) or family dispute resolution processes to help you resolve your issues out of court. Some examples of ADR processes are , , , and .

You can use ADR whether you're  or in a . And you can usually use ADR for any issues, except a . If you're legally married, you have to go to court for a divorce. But you can still think about using out-of-court options to resolve your other issues.

If you both agree on how to deal with some or all of your issues, you can put what you've agreed on in a  or you can get a  from the court.

Separation Agreement

A separation agreement is a written contract that you and your partner make that says how you will deal with your issues. You and your partner sign it and then you must both follow it. It does not need to be approved by a judge before you sign it.

You can make a separation agreement at any time.

Consent order 

A consent order is a  that says what you and your partner agree to. It is based on your consent agreement or . These are written documents that say what you are agreeing to. They can be handwritten and signed or typed and signed.

You can only enter into a consent order if one of you has started a court case.

Get legal help

You can talk to a lawyer who can help you understand what the law says and what your options are. They can also explain the court process and help you resolve your issues out of court.

If you can't afford to hire a lawyer for your whole case, some lawyers provide “unbundled services” or “limited scope retainer” services. This means you pay them to help you with part of your case. For example, they could help you complete your forms, or prepare for a hearing.

If you can't afford to hire a lawyer at all, you may be able to find legal help in other places.

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