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January 5th, 2017 by Marta J. Papa


PART 1:  In December, I focused upon the nature of marital discord that often erupts predictably over the holiday season. Often, however, couples resume an acceptable relational equilibrium as the holidays recede and a new year proceeds. Thus, the intended pursuit of a divorce is halted, and couples recognize they were simply experiencing the Holiday False Alarm Syndrome, which fades along with the old year.

At other times, however, couples come to accept the hard truth that their marriage is no longer tenable. Therefore, with a new year commencing, some couples decide now is, in fact, the time for the hard work and personal distress of dismantling their relationship: a divorce is necessary.

And while divorce is never an anticipated outcome when couples join together in marriage, it continues to be not an unlikely one. In the United States, a recent breakdown of divorce statistics remains sobering:

41% of 1st marriages end in divorce

60% of 2nd marriages end in divorce

73% of 3rd marriages end in divorce


To that end, I will focus this month upon the five divorce options available to end a marriage:

  1. The Pro Se Divorce
  2. The Non-contested Divorce
  3. The Mediated Divorce
  4. The Collaborative Divorce
  5. The Contested Divorce

Most commonly, couples who are terminating their marital relationship will find themselves necessarily focused upon three major concerns: the children, the property, and the financial/maintenance needs of each spouse. As with any important life-changing decision, knowledge and understanding are imperative, particularly when such family decisions affect others…especially children.

As you will learn, the expense (financially and emotionally!) can vary greatly depending upon which approach a couple chooses. Yet, it is quite common for couples not to know there are multiple ways to effectuate a divorce. And not all of them require outrageously expensive lawyers billing lengthy hours in legal fees.

In addition, the time-frame for a divorce completion can vary greatly, as well. Some couples can achieve a marital dissolution in a matter of months, while other couples can remain in contention for years.

So, by becoming fully informed about the varied divorce-proceeding options available and by making choices based upon personal needs, couples can advance towards the goal of a marital dissolution. And, with the assistance of a qualified legal advisor, couples can make informed choices based upon their particular circumstances and personal requirements.