Can You Afford to Get Divorced?
A happy marriage is wonderful. Unfortunately, some marriages just don’t work out. A surprising number are secretly abusive. Sometimes people just grow apart and cannot find their way to get back together. If they are fighting a lot, have minor children, and can give the kids two peaceful homes instead of one hostile one, divorce may be a very good plan.
What if you and your partner or ex-partner don’t agree about custody, visitation, spousal support, child support, and property and debt distribution? What if you cannot afford to pay two attorneys thousands of dollars to help you sort those issues out and get divorced? In many cases there is a fairly inexpensive solution: mediation. Instead of paying two lawyers to help you fight with each other, the two of you can pay one mediator to help you negotiate with each other. That way, you’ll have enough money left to support two households instead of one.
Divorced, your standard of living will probably be lower than it was during your marriage, but most of your money will still be somewhere in the family, where the kids might benefit from it.
This does not mean that you should avoid hiring an attorney. It is often best to get advice from an attorney, then do your own negotiating, with help from a professional family mediator, and check with your attorney before signing your Agreement. You may be able, together, to decide all the terms of your divorce. If you succeed, asking the Court to incorporate your written, signed plan into an Order can be easy and inexpensive.
The author, Virginia L. Colin, Ph.D., is the Director of a group of Professional Family Mediators certified by the Supreme Court of Virginia. She is not an attorney or a therapist. Nothing here should be construed as legal advice. For a free consultation about whether family mediation would be helpful for you, contact Colin Family Mediation Group at mediatorQ@gmail.com or 703.864.2101.