Tough financial times often breed unhappy marriages. They also make it harder for couples to split. Should increased efforts to keep it together fail, there are ways to keep divorce costs down that can help parting couples in lean or green times.
Though we don’t yet have full statistics for 2008, anecdotal evidence from across the country indicates that the financial crisis has changed the equation of many couples who would otherwise divorce. The cost of the divorce process, shrunken financial assets, and increased difficulty in getting by separately can force many couples to stay together rather than split. Should staying together prove unworkable or merely temporary, here are some options for how to divorce while keeping costs down.
Summary Divorce: In most states, certain couples are eligible for summary divorce procedures which require less paperwork, fewer court appearances and less time. Typically, such couples have been married for a relatively short time, have no minor children, and have no substantial real estate assets, joint or separate financial assets. Even if children or significant assets are in play, resolution of key issues may allow the couple to utilize summary divorce procedures.
Mediation: Mediation is a process through which a neutral third party helps the couple reach an agreed upon dissolution of the marriage. The couple avoids the costs of litigation. The mediator tries to facilitate communication between the parties and promote create problem solving to reach an agreeable solution.
Collaborative Divorce: Collaborative divorce is also a process in which the parties reach an agreed solution with professional help while avoiding the cost of court battles. In collaborative divorce each spouse is assisted by a specially trained attorney. Four-way meetings are used to try to reach an agreement. Other neutral specialists, such as accountants or child custody specialists can also be involved.