Are There Alternatives To Divorce?

Waple & Houk attorneys understand that divorce can negatively impact wellbeing, with those involved often experiencing depression, loneliness, and low self-esteem. Moreover, ending up in divorce courts can be a costly affair.

Thankfully, there are alternatives to divorce available for couples today. These alternatives give you and your partner a way out of the marriage without bleeding your accounts dry or dragging each other and your children through the muck. Today’s article looks at a few alternatives to divorce.

Why Use an Alternative to Divorce?

There is a likelihood that you will be more satisfied with the outcome of your case if you try these alternatives. Why is that? The main reason for belief in fairness and satisfaction with outcomes is “control.”

When you are out of court, both partners feel more in control of the situation. You and your spouse can agree to almost anything. However, you both have no control over the outcome when you are in court.

Alternatives to Divorce Courts

Divorce can be a complicated process. These alternatives may be viable options for some couples.

Separation

An unhappy couple who wishes to sever ties with a physical separation instead of a divorce could choose this option. In this case, one partner moves out. One of the advantages of separation is that it usually doesn’t affect the family finances. While the law varies from state to state, your property and financial accounts remain jointly owned.

During trial separation, you both get to see whether it is a good idea to live apart. You can separate temporarily. A trial separation is when the couple chooses to live apart to attend couples’ counseling, evaluate the relationship, learn how to live on one income, and/or as a trial run for divorce.

If, after a trial separation, you both wish to remain separated, you can opt to be legally separated through a court order. Such a contract spells out the agreement terms such as property, alimony, debt, and child-related affairs.

Note that although you might be separated, you cannot remarry because your marriage is still intact in the eyes of the law. Up to 15 percent of separated couples reconcile, so this may be a huge benefit to you. Separation means you can get back together without going through a difficult, financially draining divorce.

Mediation

In some cases, a couple wants to call it quits while also controlling their legal expenses. Then, mediation may be a viable option. In divorce mediation, a neutral party works with both partners to help them reach an agreement on the terms of their separation. These terms include how they’ll divide the property, financial support, time-sharing for the children, and more.

Typically, a divorce lawyer reviews the agreement to ensure that each party benefits equally. As soon as the mediation is signed, it becomes legally binding. One of the best things about divorce mediations is that they can be completed in just a few months. Divorces, on the other hand, could drag on for years.

Annulment 

Annulment is a court process that declares a marriage invalid. An annulled marriage means that your marriage never existed in the eyes of the law. Annulments can be civil or religious. The first step in an annulment is to file a petition to your local court. Next, you will need to list the specific reasons for your request. While each state’s legal grounds vary, the most common include force or fraud, bigamy, an underage spouse, or incapacity.

Once you file your case, the judge will examine the evidence and determine if you meet the state’s annulment requirements. If you have minor children, the court will address child custody and child support during the process. Additionally, if you file for annulment, you waive your right to spousal support.

Arbitration

This is another alternative to divorce that many couples consider. In most cases that are not settled after mediation, the parties prepare for trial. The trial may not be the best next step in your case for many reasons. For example,  your trial date may be months away, you may not want the judge assigned to your case to make the final decisions, or the remaining issues are of the kind  that can be decided quickly by someone who has the authority to do so

Typically, the arbitrator has vast experience in divorce cases, such as a retired judge who has previously handled numerous divorce cases. The couple looking to separate agrees on an arbitrator, usually with the help of their attorneys. After this, each side presents its legal arguments and facts to the arbitrator. After reviewing the facts and listening to your arguments, the arbitrator then makes an arbitration award that resolves any issue in your divorce.

Get Support From Experienced Family Law Practitioners

There are several alternatives to divorce in court, and an experienced family law practitioner would make you aware of these alternatives. If you are in the process of getting divorced and would like to speak to a lawyer, you can reach out to us at Waple & Houk Law.

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