Divorce rates are high, but divorce should always be the last option. There are a number of options available other than full on divorce warfare which often benefits no one. Here are some alternatives to consider before considering fighting it out in court.
- Marriage Counselling: If both parties have a willingness to try to save the marriage, marriage counselling may be a viable option that can improve the relationship enough that the couple decides to take the word divorce off of the table. Divorce should always be the last option and where children are affected, couples may feel that they owe it to their kids to at least try to work things out.
- Relationship Coaching: This is an alternative to counselling where both parties work with a coach in a positive way to identify goals for the relationship, work on communication and discover paths to remove barriers that are causing problems. It is client focused, and results oriented. While counselling has more of a healing orientation, coaching is more oriented towards action and moving forward.
- Mediation: This involves the couple meeting with a neutral, third party mediator who assists with moving the negotiation forward . Mediation can be used during a divorce in order to resolve the property, custody and support issues of the parties, or it can be used to resolve other disputes between the parties. It is not binding, but it can be an effective, low cost alternative to going to court, particularly if the couple is not far apart on their respective position on the issues.
- Arbitration: Another non-court alternative for couples who have decided they want to separate or divorce is to hire a neutral third party who essentially acts as a private judge to make a binding decision with respect to such issues as property, custody and support. Arbitration is more costly than mediation, but less costly than going to court.
Divorce is a major life decision with far reaching implications affecting your children, where you live, your financial well-being and your emotional well-being. It is important to thoughtfully consider all of the alternatives.