Legal Divorce Alternatives
Your marriage isn’t working, but you are averse to the notion of divorce for any of myriad reasons—you are facing religious prohibitions—you don’t have the money right now—you don’t want to deal with the family reaction—so what options do you have? Legally speaking, there are a few alternatives worth considering.
- A Separation Agreement: Maybe you’re not ready to toss in the towel, but you really need a break from your partner. Although legal separations are not recognized in the Sunshine State, a separation agreement may be the way to get a bit of space without actually dropping an ax on the marriage altogether. The court can adjudicate agreements made regarding the terms of the split, although they are not binding should things proceed to an actual divorce. Legal paperwork can be filed to outline the terms of the separation, addressing issues like visitation, support, property, and the like. It gives everyone the opportunity to see what living apart feels like financially, emotionally, and otherwise. One of the big advantages of a legal separation is that health insurance can still cover an unworking spouse in most situations. The downside? Neither partner can remarry, because you’re still legally married.
- Mediation: Mediation is often a less stressful and less expensive way to address a breakup than traditional divorce. Through confidential mediation, a neutral third party agreed to by both partners assists individuals who are splitting as they negotiate matters from property division to parenting plans and everything in between. And the agreements reached are enforceable after the fact. Attorneys for each party ensure that everything is legal and fair in the end. It’s a good way to avoid arbitration and a trial down the road.
- Annulment: Unlike divorce, an annulment dissolves a union by essentially saying it never occurred in the first place. These are quite rare because the requirements for them are pretty strict. The person seeking the annulment must prove that their partner intentionally tricked them in a civil annulment, such as by concealing a previous felony or some type of cognitive impairment. The benefit of annulment is that you can go on with your life afterward as though the marriage never even happened. On the other hand, there are no awards for spousal support because, again, the marriage never happened.
Making the Split a Little Easier
Regardless of the route you choose, it’s helpful to keep a few points front of mind:
- You’re going to have some mixed feelings about all of this. That’s ok.
- You need to be good to yourself, physically, mentally, and emotionally.
- Power struggles don’t benefit anyone.
- It’s tough, but positive thinking can get you through it.
- Believe in the future. You’ll get into a new routine and things will settle.
- Keep the kids’ mental and emotional health on the front burner and address any concerns immediately.
- Finally, be sure to keep your children out of the line of fire. They don’t need to be involved in any conflict!
Get the Legal Help You Need
The experienced Boca Raton family law attorneys at WiseLieberman are here to assist you in your journey forward. Schedule a confidential consultation in our office to get started.