Mediation, collaborative divorce are viable alternatives in uncertain economy

As you’ve likely seen on the news, heard on the radio or read on the internet, economic conditions are gradually improving and the recession may finally be drawing to a close. While this is certainly encouraging, people are understandably still monitoring the stock market with a skeptical eye and exercising caution in how they spend their hard-earned money.

However, real life doesn’t always wait for economic conditions to improve, meaning you and your spouse may not be able to put off a divorce despite your best efforts. However, if the thought of a potentially costly and emotionally draining divorce makes you nervous, you should know that there are strong alternatives available to traditional dissolution of marriage proceedings.

One particularly viable divorce alternative for many people is divorce mediation.

In divorce mediation, the former spouses — both of whom may be represented by an attorney — meet in a neutral location to resolve important divorce issues, including child support, spousal maintenance, child custody and property division.

The mediation session is run by a neutral third party mediator who works to facilitate both a constructive dialogue and mutual cooperation.

The primary advantage of divorce mediation is that it enables couples to speed up the divorce process and save money, as well as preserve amicable relationships.

Another potentially viable divorce alternative for many people is collaborative divorce, a process that also relies upon communication and negotiation, instead of litigation.

Here, couples first sign a contract pledging to resolve all of their issues outside of the courtroom. Each spouse is then assigned their own attorney and mental health professional to act as their coach during the process. (A neutral financial advisor is also part of the team, as is a child specialist if there are children in the family.) The collaborative divorce team then proceeds to work together to resolve issues in a constructive manner.

As we discussed before, it is extremely important to remember that these divorce alternatives may not be the best option for every couple. The reality is that many couples are often unable to get along and would likely be better served by resolving their important divorce-related issues in a courtroom.

Stay tuned for more from our Ft. Worth family law blog …

To learn more about traditional dissolution of marriage, divorce mediation or collaborative divorce, contact an experienced and skilled legal professional.

This post is for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice.

Source:, “Benefits of divorce mediation during tough economic times,” Polly Tatum, Sept. 12, 2012