Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Fewer, but Friendlier, Divorces

A story in the Kansas City Star on November 21 provided some surprising news about the state of divorce in the U.S. The common perception is that the divorce rate is rising and that fewer than half of marriages survive. That apparently is changing. From 1979 to 2005, the rate of divorce dropped from 22.8 to 16.7 per 1,000 married couples. About 53% of the couples who married from 1975 to 1979 had marriages that lasted at least 25 years, which was an improvement over previous times.

The article pointed out that not only is the divorce rate falling, but fewer people are going to court to resolve their marital issues. All over the country, people are turning to new alternatives to trials. Mediation, which began to become popular here in Texas in the mid- to late-1980s, continues to grow. There are more and more quality mediators available to work in Family Law cases and other matters. In addition, arbitration is becoming a little more common, but it is still not very well known.

One of the best innovations that is making a dent in the trial statistics is Collaborative Law. Across the country, more cases are successfully using Collaborative Law to resolve all kinds of Family Law matters and some other matters, such as probate, employment claims and contract disputes, all without going to court.

Having the choices available makes it much easier to work out solutions without going to trial. While Collaborative Law is often the best alternative, there are situations where it may not work well. In those cases, mediation or arbitration can be extremely helpful. Parties considering divorce should visit with one or more attorneys and find out all their options before they get started. For advice on Collaborative Law, make sure you visit with a lawyer who is trained in Collaborative Law.

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