Your marriage is in trouble and you’re thinking about divorce.
Is that really the next best step? Divorce is time consuming, complex, and costly. You may benefit from exploring divorce alternatives, such as legal separation or mediation. Here’s what you need to know.
Annulling Your Marriage
Annulling your marriage can be done under certain circumstances if you and your ex-spouse meet eligibility requirements. A divorce ends a marriage, however, an annulment expunges it, meaning that legally it never existed. To be eligible for an annulment, typically one partner must prove that they did not have the capacity to give consent to the marriage, or they were coerced or misled.
Getting a Legal Separation
Jumping headfirst into divorce isn’t necessarily the right option for all families considering ending their marriage. A legal separation can offer you a “trial period” where you remain technically married on paper, but are able to live separate lives as though you were divorced. This also allows spouses to maintain access to important benefits like life insurance, health coverage, and retirement benefits.
Mediating Your Divorce
Not all divorces take place like you see in the movies or on television. Few actually make it to court where litigation takes place, and one side is arguing vehemently against the other. Often, divorces can be resolved amicably and with compromises on both sides through mediation. This type of divorce counseling involves negotiating with a neutral third party on important aspects of your divorce, like spousal support, child custody, property division, and more.
If you’re not able to resolve the various issues of your divorce through mediation, annulment, or legal separation, arbitration may be another option before you move forward to traditional divorce litigation. Arbitration requires you and your spouse to meet before an arbitrator in their chambers instead of a courtroom, and will review your case before making decisions regarding who gets what at the time of divorce. Like a judge, the arbitrator’s decisions are considered part of the final divorce decree.
Need Help Understanding Your Options? Contact a Tampa Divorce Attorney Today
The idea of getting a divorce is frightening. Whether you’re considering the idea of divorcing your spouse or your spouse has served you with divorce papers, it’s important that you take quick action. Protect your rights and the best interests of yourself and your loved ones with the help of a Tampa family lawyer. Call Mindi Lasley today for a consultation at 813.873.9047.