Traditional divorce isn’t the only option for a couple going through marital problems, and it may not always be the best solution. Divorce presents several significant financial burdens and hurdles, such as lost medical coverage, increased tax burdens, and serious costs to separate assets. Not all martial relationships need to end in a contested divorce, with lawyers on both sides, discovery, and years of litigation. Some relationships can end amicably or even continue to allow the couple to keep some benefits while avoiding the costs.
Disadvantages To Divorce
Divorce is costly. Legal fees can easily increase to the tens of thousands. Moreover, living costs double because the individuals who formerly shared food and living arrangements now need to provide for it all on their own. Divorcing couples also strain familial and social relationships. Further, divorce affects children. Children usually suffer emotional and psychological harm that manifests with low school performance, substance abuse, anxiety, and depression.
Alternatives To Divorce
In light of the disadvantage to divorce, it could be worth it for some couples to consider an alternative to divorce.
Divorcing couples can seek counseling before filing for divorce. At best, counseling may provide couples with techniques to save their marriage. At worst, counseling may provide the basis for an amicable separation or divorce.
Separation is a process by which couples stop living together but continue to commingle their finances. Couples continue to file joint tax returns, pay property taxes, and share employee benefits such as retirement and medical coverage. Separation does not mean the couple needs to begin the divorce process or even file separate taxes – unless they separate to divorce. Separation could allow couples to work on their issues while continuing to receive the benefits of marriage.
3. Mediated Divorce
Mediated divorce involves a neutral mediator assisting couples in resolving their differences with the ultimate goal of filing a no-contest divorce with a marriage settlement agreement. The mediator helps facilitate helpful dialogue, plan parenting time, and anticipate legal problems to facilitate an amicable divorce. Mediated divorce is generally cheaper and easier to complete than contested divorces. However, the process depends on the cooperation of both parties.
4. Collaborative Divorce
Collaborative divorce is similar to mediated divorce in that it is cheaper than traditional divorce. In a mediated divorce, the couple hires the same mediator or attorney to facilitate the process. In collaborative divorce, both parties hire their own lawyers who work together to bring about the divorce in the most amicable way possible. The couple agrees to waive certain rights and deadlines to facilitate the divorce.
Uncoupling is a therapeutic process through which couples agree to live separate lives. It is a way for some couples to be apart while sharing for the benefit of marriage. Unlike separation, uncoupling is usually combined with choices to maintain certain marriage benefits to facilitate a final divorce. Uncoupling could be permanent or temporary. Uncoupling is useful for couples where one spouse works and the other does not and therefore would lose health benefits in a divorce.