Can't Afford Divorce? Try Reconciliation

Financial issues are often cited as one of the main reasons for divorce. Now it turns out that financial issues are keeping would be splitters together.

Divorce experts, psychologists, divorce coaches and lawyers are seeing a surge in couples divorcing through mediation instead of court, or working harder toward reconciliation.

“People are still going to get divorced,” says Josh Forman, a divorce attorney. “But now I think they are thinking about it more carefully to decide if they can afford it or not. People were relying on huge portfolios and bonuses to get them through a divorce, that now aren’t worth anything.”

“Living independently is a luxury,” says divorce coach Jill Brooke.

Some couples are choosing to weather the economic storm together, with the hope that when the economy bounces back they will be able to go through with the separation. Divorce is expensive, with standard negotiations starting around $10,000 per person.

Although couples may have started the reconciliation process for the sake of the bank account, they may end up finding out they want to stay together simply for the sake of staying together. Jonathan Alpert, a licensed psychotherapist in Manhattan, has seen a number of clients who have rekindled their love in the process.

The surge in unemployment is contributing to marital tension as well. It can lead to depression and anger in the laid off individual and tends to wreck havoc in a relationship. There are often unrealistic expectations in the marriage if one of the spouses was the primary breadwinner and now can not live up to those financial obligations. (Now, as we reported recently, is the time for couples to resolve money issues.)

For those who can't afford a divorce but see no other option, there are less expensive ways to separate. Mediators cost significantly less than a lawyer and give the couple the option of separating assets together.

“In the past I would mediate the divorce or find a peaceful way to split up,” says Alpert. “But now they have in their mind they are going to stay together at all costs.”

Still set on getting separated? Check out this recent MainStreet story on finding hidden assets during a divorce.

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