Al­ter­na­tives To A Di­vorce War

Annex Post - - ASK THE EXPERT -

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.

Leanne Townsend, Fam­ily Lawyer & Life Coach B.A., B.Ed., LL.B.

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