Alternatives to Divorce and Legal Separation In Arizona
The Arizona Estate Planning Attorneys team have been answering client questions about legal separations and what they mean for spouses. Similar to divorce in many ways, a legal separation agreement keeps the marriage intact and allows the involved parties to reap some of the legal and monetary rewards of marriage.
However, we also note that it is not always an appropriate option for a couple, depending on their circumstances. Not only does a legal separation entail just as much work as a divorce in certain situations, but can lead to a divorce anyway, which is double the amount of work for everyone. If you find yourself and your spouse in a stressful or hectic situation, it can be effective to explore other options before opting into a legal separation or drawing up a divorce agreement.
The family law attorneys at Hildebrand Law, PC want to highlight some of the alternatives couples can explore instead of being separated or filing for divorce and how they can be useful in certain situations. If you are struggling with your marital situation and need legal advice, get in touch with Arizona’s family law experts at Hildebrand Law, PC.
Marriage Counseling to Save a Marriage in Arizona
Some couples only need to find a way to communicate and work through their problems without the fear of judgment. Often, communication breakdown is one of the biggest factors in a failing marriage.
Maybe one party is frustrated with the other but feels they can’t express such feelings without being chastised. Perhaps one spouse is afraid of the other, and the other has no idea their spouse feels that way.
Marriage counseling is a way for a couple to resolve their problems while someone else catalyzes and directs the conversation. Opening the communication lines can make all of the difference and shift perspectives entirely.
If you feel as though you and your spouse have been unable to communicate and that is leading you to contemplate filing for divorce, consider addressing your issues with the help of a marriage counselor first.
Informal Trial Separation
We have mentioned before that legal separation is not a way to decide on if you and your spouse want to get a divorce or not. Instead, a separation agreement is essentially the same amount of work and legal proceedings as filing for divorce, but with a few benefits retained. It is not the wisest decision to use a legal separation as a path to a divorce. Instead, couples can try an informal trial separation before they decide on their next steps.
Some couples go through the entire trouble of separating or divorcing in haste, only to discover it was not the ideal situation that they hoped it would be. An informal trial separation is a good alternative, as it provides a similar living situation as a permanent separation or divorce would with the option for retraction and resuming your life as it was. An informal separation is a trial period, which can be specified by the spouses.
There may, on occasion, be some paperwork to ensure the loose perimeters of an informal trial separation are met, but that can be dealt with quickly. Mediation, while not entirely an alternative, is a good way for couples to find common ground if they do decide to follow through with a legal separation or divorce. Typically, both parties will hire an attorney, tell their lawyer what they are looking for in a divorce agreement, or go to court to try to get an order to get what they want.
Mediation to Resolve Divorce or Legal Separation Issues
Not only is going to court exhausting and stressful, but it can cost both sides an unnecessary amount of money in fees. There is an alternative, divorce mediation, that spouses can utilize to not only come to an agreement that will be beneficial for both sides but also give them some clarity in where each other stands. Mediation allows the parties to determine the outcome of their divorce decree without the court making decisions for them.
Mediation allows the parties to be civil and begin to reconcile a semblance of positive communication, something that is especially important if they have children together or have a financial agreement that will last for the foreseeable future. The idea of divorce or separation can be daunting and overwhelming for many people. It can also be the wrong decision for spouses depending on their current situation.
In some cases, there is simply a communication breakdown preventing couples from resolving their problems. Other times, they may misunderstand the usefulness of a legal separation and the difference between a trial separation. If you and your spouse are facing a situation where you might be considering filing for divorce, alternative methods might be best for you both in the long run.
Chris Hildebrand wrote this article to ensure everyone has access to information about family law in Arizona. Chris is a divorce and family law attorney at Hildebrand Law, PC. He has over 24 years of Arizona family law experience and has received multiple awards, including US News and World Report “Top Arizona Divorce Attorneys”, Phoenix Magazine “Top Divorce Law Firms”, and Arizona Foothills Magazine “Best of the Valley” award. He believes the policies and procedures he uses to get his clients through a divorce should all be guided by the principles of honesty, integrity, and, quite frankly, actually caring about what his clients are going through in a divorce or family law case. In short, his practice is defined by the success of his clients. He also manages all of the other attorneys at his firm to make sure the outcomes in their clients’ cases are successful as well.
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