Couples may feel that divorce is the only option when their marriage begins to fall apart. However, there are many popular alternatives that allow for each individual to move on with their lives and avoid lengthy, painful divorce proceedings. There are many reasons for couples to avoid divorce. Some religious traditions forbid divorce even when the living situation has become unmanageable. Some couples simply cannot afford to hire divorce lawyers or pay court fees. Regardless of the reasons, couples should consider every avenue open to them when making such important life decisions.
Option 1: Legal Separation
A legal separation remains as one of the most popular choices as an alternative to divorce. Couples choosing this option are typically limited by economic or age conditions which make an actual divorce an impractical answer. Though this choice is popular, it usually only serves as a temporary solution. Eventually some form of a more permanent legal situation must be established. The need for this type of action often arises when one member of the couple wishes to remarry.
Option 2: Mediation
Mediation from a neutral third party can allow for couples to resolve their differences outside of a courtroom. This step should be the next one up from counseling. Seeking marriage counseling is generally the first step that couples take to avoid a divorce. If the differences are irresolvable, then mediation can ease the process of splitting assets and other practical components of the marriage. The mediation process can help to separate the anger and the emotional pain from what must be done in regard to the day to day living concerns. A mediator listens to the desires and opinions of both sides without attempting to determine who is in the right. Instead, the mediator takes the concerns into account and attempts to find a resolution that is fair to both parties.
Option 3: Trial Separation
Couples in the past have also chosen to simply live apart while making the financial adjustments necessary to accommodate the situation. This solution is often the case when there are still children that need to cared for financially. Many solutions such as this remain stable without ultimately leading to divorce. In terms of the financial repercussions of this choice, it is necessary to have a lawyer make adjustments to living wills. Because there is no divorce in place, a spouse should allocate a small amount of money to the other party. This amount can be as small as one dollar. The remainder of the possessions and money can be left to children or any other individual they see fit. This step, in turn, protects the assets of the individual from the significant other in any situation.
If divorce is inevitable, then couples can choose to go through the proceedings in a variety of ways. Mediated proceedings work in much the same way as the approach outlined above. Litigated divorce is the traditional and most common method of divorce. The other alternative is collaborative divorce which will help to ensure a quicker, less emotional legal resolution.