More Separating Couples Choosing Divorce Alternatives

When the time comes to end a marriage, many people mistakenly believe that their only option is to retain the services of an attorney, and embark upon a long, costly and emotionally draining courtroom battle. Fortunately, this is not the case. Couples seeking a divorce now have a variety of options available to them that are as equally effective as a traditional divorce, but far less costly and traumatic for the family. These options include divorce mediation and collaborative law.

In fact, recent surveys have shown that these divorce alternatives are increasing in popularity among separating couples.

What’s behind this trend?

Many divorcing spouses either lived through a bitter divorce as a child or witnessed a friend’s parents go through a painful divorce. Consequently, they have no desire to relive a distressing situation that would not only prolong their pain and cost thousands of dollars, but also cause their own children to suffer similar emotional distress.

“[Traditional divorce] makes it almost impossible to have a civil relationship going forward. You don’t forget what it’s like to be cross-examined by your spouse’s lawyer. It sets [couples] up for years and years of not being able to communicate well,” said family law attorney John Zarzynski, co-founder of a divorce mediation firm.

As previously stated, many divorcing couples are now electing to utilize the following divorce alternatives:


Divorce mediation is a less costly and less combative method of dissolving a marriage. 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.

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

Collaborative Law

In collaborative law, each of the former spouses retains the services of an attorney. The four parties then gather outside the courtroom and work toward mutually acceptable arrangements. It is not uncommon for experts to be retained during the collaborative process.

Both processes can provide separating couples with a prompt resolution and sizable savings. According to Zarzynski, the average divorce mediation takes roughly 70 days and the average cost is roughly $1,000.

This post is for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice. Contact a legal professional to learn more about divorce mediation.

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Related Resources:

  • More Couples Opt for Friendly Divorce, Detroit Free Press, 08/08/10, (page unavailable online) via WestClip by Westlaw