4 Alternatives to a Messy & Expensive Divorce

4 Alternatives to a Messy & Expensive Divorce

Considering divorce is a daunting prospect. Even more than just an immense loss, a divorce provokes a moment of disturbing introspection:

“Why did this love fail?”, “Where did we go wrong?”, and worst, “Am I unlovable?”

At Avvo, we try to be realistic about relationships problems and de-stigmatizing them. As such, we did a a study and discovered that around 33% of people actually regret their divorce. It’s an upsetting reality that folks would go through the financial and economic turmoil, only to end up lamenting it later. That said, sometimes dissolving the marriage contract is the best choice, and, should that be the case, there are ways to minimize the trauma.

If the prospect of divorce has crept into your psyche, consider the following potential alternatives, before making a final decision.

1) Therapy:

In many ways, our world today is more like science fiction than pre-history. Self-driving cars, digital consciousness, and 3D Printers Young couple cuddling on the couch while therapist watchesare realities. Being a human is arduous, and now, more than ever, it’s convoluted. This everyday struggle is both relieved and exacerbated through a partner. How does one protect a relationship against all the distractions?

This craziness in mind, it’s shocking that counseling still carries such a stigma. A new perspective, especially from a professional, is invaluable. Every day, counselors see similar issues, manifesting in different ways: lack of intimacy, lack of communication, financial disagreements, etc. They have the proper training to help you all fine-tune your connection. Because a marriage is so personal, untangling deep hurt would essentially require a mediator. It would be foolhardy to underestimate the power of this third party.

Marriage is one life lived through two bodies and two brains. Naturally, such an arrangement is going to need some maintenance. Do not be afraid nor ashamed to spend months or years in couples counseling. At the end of the day, marriage is work. If you’re local to Colorado, the Marriage and Family Clinic is a great place to start. Websites like Good Therapy or ZocDoc can help you identify a professional in your area.

2) Legal separation:

Contemplating Divorce“Absence makes the heart grow fonder”. This isn’t an adage for no good reason– it’s true. How often have you craved someone’s presence once they were lacking? In a truly rare and thoughtful moment, the law allows for this type of experimentation within a marriage. Called “legal separation”, the process is not an actual divorce, but a management system for a married couple to exist in separate households. It allows the two parties to live apart, divide assets, have separate parenting schedules, and negotiate an alimony. In a practical sense, legal separation is fairly indistinct from divorce. It does, however, leave the door open for the two parties to reconcile and remerge the households. Equally, neither party can remarry, because they have not technically dissolved the marriage.

3) Annulment:

While traditionally associated with Catholicism, this term also refers to a bona fide legal move (separate from its religious namesake). It is rather rare, however, as the requisites are very specific. It be successful, an annulment filing must prove that the marriage was actually invalid in the first place. So, the relevant issue must have pre-existed the moment of “I do”. The most common example is marriage fraud—where one spouse feigns love in order to be granted citizenship. Other possible reasons are insanity, impotency, and polygamy. Rather than a “dissolution of a marriage”, an annulment certifies that, legally speaking, the marriage never happened at all. This table gives further information on the legal differences between divorce and annulment. 

4) Uncontested Divorce: 

divorce filingSometimes, permanently parting ways may be the best path to a more functional future. A highly-contested, all-out war, à la Kramer vs. Kramer, has become the standard image of divorce. But getting “un-married” doesn’t necessarily have to be a knock-out, drag-down fight. Such an approach requires extensive time in court—which is both expensive and time-consuming. A DIY approach—called an “uncontested” divorce — can save immense resources for both parties. It’s a tricky task, as amicability and lucidity are required. Sometimes, there may be too much emotional damage to pull it off.

An uncontested divorce is considered most achievable by couples with fewer assets and no children. This is because the couple must come to terms on all of the details of the divorce settlement. You must sit down together, and, at the very least, divide all of the assets. If applicable, you would also have to agree on a parenting schedule and alimony or child-support payments. Save for filing documents, the court doesn’t get involved, so significant time and money are saved. There are websites, such as Avvo, where you can get an uncontested divorce online.


About the author

Marlo Spieth works for Avvo, explaining legal issues in a lucid way. Her days are spent in sunny Seattle, blogging and doing business development. She empathizes most with the quote,“I have social disease. I have to go out every night.”

Please note: The views and opinions expressed herein are the author’s alone and do not represent Avvo.


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