As the economy worsens couples contemplating divorce face even more problems than normal. We estimate it costs 30% more to live separately than together. Many couples cannot afford to get divorced. I have compiled the following “tips” to help them. Please send me your suggestions.
1. Try Harder: See if you can save your marriage. Try marital mediation or marital counseling. It may be covered by your health insurance. If not, your religious affiliation or local non profit organizations may have free counseling. We offer marital mediation. See more at our web site at http://www.center-divorce-mediation.com./
2. Use Mediation: It will not only cost you less to get the divorce but will probably save you money in the long run. You can get more information at our web site at http://www.center-divorce-mediation.com/
3. Represent Yourself: Most courts allow you to represent yourself in a divorce. It is called either pro per or pro se. The courts either have kits you can use or can refer you to the place you can get them. They are online in Arizona at http://www.sc.pima.gov/?tabid=119 . The court web site also has a Family Law quick guide at http://www.sc.pima.gov/?tabid=113. There are also many books available which will walk you thru the process.
4. Consider Bankruptcy: Consult with a bankruptcy attorney to see if bankruptcy is best for you. It is probably better if both husband and wife file. If you don’t want to file for bankruptcy, try negotiating with your creditors.
5. Use One Attorney to Prepare Documents and Another Attorney to Review Them: One attorney cannot represent both of you but if you both agree on all the issues, one attorney can represent one of you and prepare all the documents. I suggest the person not represented by that attorney get his or her own attorney to review the documents. It should not cost much to do this.
6. Consider Creative Housing Solutions: Even before the recent economic problems couples did this. If your house allows it live in separate areas of the house and work out a schedule when you do not have to be in the house at the same time. You should consider what impact this has on your children. Move in with a parent or friend or house sit. I have not heard of anyone doing this but it might work. Consider a Kate and Allie living arrangement. This is named after the 1984 television show in which Allie Lowell divorces her husband and gets custody of their two children, and moves in with her best friend, Kate McArdle, also divorced and raising a daughter. They form a unique kind of family unit. The show starred Susan St. James and Jane Curtin. In the ultimate version of this show the husbands could live together and the wives could live together!
7. Short Sales: Negotiate a short sales, in which the bank agrees to cut the loan amount to the sale price.
8. Disaster Scenarios: Have your divorce agreement include “disaster scenarios”, automatic adjustments to support payment schedules a party loses their jobs. Job loss adjustments should be temporary and might include a postponement rather than an elimination of support.
As always, you can post any comment about this blog, Divorce Mediation, or Tucson Arizona by following the directions at the right in the green column or at the bottom of this website. If you have any suggestions on how to divorce in bad economic times, please comment. You can get more information at our web site at http://www.center-divorce-mediation.com/ WM 2/1/09