Common Divorce Alternatives

Many people often think the only way to end a marriage is with a divorce, which could potentially be long, arduous, contentious, and expensive. However, the people who often think this are the ones who are unaware that numerous alternatives to divorce actually exist. If you’re worried about your divorce or think you can’t afford the expense required to get out of your marriage successfully, these alternatives can present you with a better route to reach your goals, provided you qualify.


Mediation is growing extremely popular at a rapid pace for a number of reasons. On one hand, it’s one of the least expensive options to ending your marriage, and it can have exceptional results when done properly. In mediation, both parties meet with a mediator (who is often also an attorney) to discuss the terms of their divorce at a place where both parties are comfortable. The mediator learns what is important to both sides and then guides the conversation to make it more productive. In the end, a successfully mediated divorce features terms that both parties have developed on their own and agreed to completely, which also means they will both likely be much happier with the extremely-customized conclusion that fits their lives perfectly.


Negotiation is similar to mediation in that it also takes place outside of the confines of a courtroom, and instead happens where both parties are comfortable meeting. During these sessions, both parties and their attorneys work together to create the terms of a divorce agreement on their own, with the guidance of their legal counselors. This can be difficult to navigate, but couples who are willing to work together and find the solution on their own could reap numerous benefits of not having to rely on a court’s ruling to dictate their divorce. Because this avoids many of the expensive court fees and can require less of an attorney’s time, this too can be a money-saving option for couples who need to end their marriage but have a tight budget.

Legal Separation

Legal separation allows a couple to live separately, but they remain legally married. This means that neither party may enter into a new marriage or domestic partnership while the couple remain tied in this way, but it allows them to also keep some things alive, such as health insurance from an employer-provided plan. However, a legal separation isn’t as easy as just going your separate ways and living apart. Legal separation must often be accompanied by an agreement for issues that may emerge, such as child custody, spousal support, and even property division matters. As a result, a legal separation could be just as difficult to obtain as a full divorce.

Marital Counseling

In some cases, divorce or separation may not be right and your marriage could be salvaged. Often times a mediator or counselor can help a couple work through their issues and recognize that a divorce isn’t right, but simply changing the marriage as it is can help it work together smoother. Not only does this save both parties a substantial amount of money, but it could lead to both of them living a happier life together than they ever would while apart. This isn’t right for everyone, and sometimes even counseling can’t save a relationship, but if there’s a chance your marriage could still work, this is an option worth looking into.


If your marriage began under unlawful circumstances, then one party can simply make it as though the marriage never happened by obtaining an annulment. What kind of circumstances make a marriage illegal from the start? Marrying someone who was already married to someone else would make a marriage illegal, as bigamy is outlawed in the state. Incestuous marriages, including marrying a sibling or other close blood relative, are also illegal. Marriages also may not begin under force or fraud, so marriages that were done out of coercion can legally be annulled. Finally, marriage where one spouse was under the age of 18 at the time it began could be annulled.

If you need assistance with any of these divorce alternatives, or believe that a traditional divorce may be right for you, my firm can help you. My name is Jeffrey S. Graff, and as your Westlake Village divorce attorney, my team and I can help you seek the best possible resolution to all your family law issues. No matter how complex your case may be, I have the knowledge to handle it, obtained through more than 30 years of experience practicing family law. I offer compassionate and professional representation that keeps your best interests at heart while also giving you the best possible chance of an ideal conclusion to your issue.

If you’re considering a divorce, talk to my firm today! Call 805-633-4999 to request a free initial consultation.
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