A Complete Guide to Divorce Alternatives

Marriage is supposed to last for a lifetime, but for many couples, it ends in divorce. Approximately, 40 to 50% of married couples divorce. But if you think that divorce is the only option, it’s not.

There are divorce alternatives available to individuals who want to take a different approach to splitting with their spouse. Keep reading the information below to learn more about other options for divorce.

The Most Common Divorce Alternatives

When it comes to choosing alternatives other than divorce, the route you take depends on the situation that’s best for you. Here are the most common divorce alternatives:

Annulment

An annulment is similar to a divorce in the way that it ends a marriage. However, when a couple gets an annulment, it’s as if they were never married at all. Therefore, after the proceedings are complete, they can legally identify as single rather than divorced.

It’s one of the primary alternatives to divorce for people who’ve only been married for a short time. But there are circumstances that allow individuals who have been married for many years to also get an annulment, such as:

Fraud or Misrepresentation: If one of the parties in the marriage lies about something that would have been a deciding factor to the other party before getting married. For instance, lying about being able to have children.

Unsound Thinking: If one of the parties was intoxicated by alcohol or drugs at the time of the wedding or didn’t have the mental capacity to understand what was happening during the ceremony.

Bigamy: If one of the individuals is still married to someone else and not legally divorced.

Incest or underage spouse: If two individuals are related by blood and their marriage is illegal in the state that they were married. Also, if one of the spouses is under the age of consent and did not get a parent’s approval.

The marriage wasn’t consummated: If one of the spouses is unable to have sexual intercourse and the other party didn’t know that before the marriage, an annulment is granted.

Force: If one of the parties was somehow forced into getting married.

Legal Separation

A legal separation is one of the alternatives to divorce that allows couples to live separately with no marital obligations to one another. The difference between a legal separation and a divorce is that the couple is technically still married. That means they have not ended their marital status and are unable to remarry unless they get a divorce.

A separation is also known as a limited divorce or a judicial separation. Some states require that spouses are legally separated before they can go through divorce proceedings. The length of time required for a legal separation is generally six months to two years, depending on the state the couple lives in.

In some regions, a couple can live separately and both sign a written separation agreement. Written agreements must include details on how both individuals will handle the separation moving forward.

For example, writing down that you two will continue to share a bank account, live separately, where you’ll live, the purpose of your divorce your separation, and when you’ll begin living apart.

The reasons that people get a legal separation vary from couple to couple. Some individuals do it because of religious reasons and others just need a break from their marriage.

Trial Separation

A trial separation occurs when you and your spouse are hoping to eventually reconcile. If you choose this route, all of your issues must be handled as if you are still married.

Both parties should discuss who will stay in the family home, how the time will be spent time with the children, how the bills will be handled, etc.

Permanent Separation

A permanent separation occurs when neither party intends on reconciling. In some states, living apart can alter property rights for spouses who don’t plan on getting back together.

Permanent separations also mean you’re not responsible for any monetary expenses your spouse incurs. On the other hand, you are also not entitled to share any property or income that your spouse earns.

If you move out and briefly reconcile with your spouse, you could potentially change the separation date and become responsible for them once again.

Once you are separated and have made the agreement on how you will move forward, you don’t have to divorce right away.

Uncontested Divorce  

Another divorce alternative is an uncontested divorce. In this situation, the couple works together to reach an understanding regarding the issues surrounding the divorce.

Most agreements involve child custody, alimony, property division, child support, and more. You’ll need a divorce attorney to draft the divorce settlement agreement and get it submitted to the court. All other discussions are negotiable between the couple.

Mediation

One of the best alternative divorce solutions is mediation. It prevents couples from having to go to court to get a divorce. The proceedings include a mediator that helps the partners work through their differences until there are no more issues remaining.

Once all of the disputes have been diminished, the proceedings then move forward as an uncontested divorce.

Move on from Marriage the Right Way

Terminating your divorce isn’t an easy decision, and it shouldn’t be one that you make alone. Hopefully, these divorce alternatives help you find a way to split with your spouse amicably.

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