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What Are Alternatives to Divorce?

by Lynda Moultry Belcher

Divorce can have a devastating effect on a family unit. Not only does it cause anger and sadness, but it dismantles the core structure of the home, forcing everyone to make major changes. If you are unsure of a decision to divorce, it is important that you consider all alternatives. Divorce is not the only option when it comes to making a major change in your marital relationship.

Trial Separation

Sometimes, what you and your spouse need is time to work through your issues. Before agreeing to divorce, give trial separation a try first. Not only is this a less permanent alternative, but it also helps keep the family intact as you decide what you really want to do. Agree to rules for the separation in terms of living quarters, dating, what you will tell people and anything else that may cause additional ripples in your relationship as you figure things out.

Counseling

What may seem like an insurmountable issue can sometimes be worked out with the help of an objective third party. Attend marriage counseling to see if you can overcome the issues that are hurting your marriage. Both of you must agree to this in order for it work; otherwise, one person is left trying to repair damage caused by two people.

Stay

Some people find that divorce will divide their families too much or cause significant financial strife and simply decide to stay in the relationship. In fact, many more couples do this than most people realize. This is not a long-term decision; you may decide to change your mind at any time. But there is more to consider than hurt feelings when you end a marriage.

Considerations

In order to properly consider all of your options, you need to be informed. If you are considering divorce, consult with a marriage counselor and a divorce attorney. Both experts can give you a clear idea of what to expect in the divorce process and gauge whether or not, in their professional opinion, you have other options. No matter what your decision in the end, it is important to have all of the facts before you make one move over another.

About the Author

Lynda Moultry Belcher is a writer, editor and public relations professional. She worked for a daily newspaper for 10 years and has been a freelance writer for more than 15 years. She has contributed to Divorce360 and Revolution Health Group, among other publications. She is also the author of "101 Plus-Size Women's Clothing Tips" and writes "Style At Any Size," a bi-weekly newspaper column.