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Economic alternatives to divorce in a weak economy

We all know that money is one of the main reasons couples argue and split up. In a weak economy, money problems add more pressure and stress on relationships, partnerships and marriages. Therefore, you may be surprised to learn that the number of family law cases filed in some of our neighboring Ohio counties has actually dropped about 7 percent in the past five years.

Many attribute the decline not to marital bliss, but couples simply cannot afford to separate or divorce and have two households to maintain. In addition, when couples have less income, they can't afford the cost of a traditional divorce. Complicating matters is the dismal housing market which makes dividing assets and property nearly impossible. After having a home on the market for months and months after their divorce is final, some couples are forced to foreclose or conduct short sales

Counseling, mediation, collaborative law and dissolution are all better economic solutions to divorce. Because Ohio differentiates between divorce (a contested proceeding) and dissolution (an uncontested proceeding), the court costs to file those documents will vary by hundreds of dollars. Whether or not you have children will also determine the cost of litigation and filing court documents.

Dissolutions, mediation and collaborative law solutions not only cost less, but they also take less time than a traditional divorce. These proceedings may also provide you with an opportunity to work with parenting coaches, mental health providers and professional financial coaches.

Of course, if you need restraining protection from an abusive spouse or to maintain your assets, filing a traditional divorce will afford you those protections under temporary court orders.

Source: oxfordpress.com, "Weak economy adds to divorce costs," Ted Cox and Skip Weaver, Feb. 21, 2012

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