Recent Survey Shows Increase in Number of Divorcing Couples Unable to Afford Traditional Divorce Who Seek Cost-Effective Alternatives Such As Collaborative Divorce And Mediation

In a recent survey, 68% of Certified Divorce Financial Analysts (CDFA) contacted from across the country indicated that they have clients who could not afford to get divorced because of recession-related financial problems, with 63% of responding CDFA saying that the number has increased since the previous year. The professionals surveyed believe this will result in delayed or drawn-out divorce proceedings as well as an increase in the number of couples trying to save money through cost-effective alternatives to litigating their divorce in court, such as collaborative divorce and mediation.

Conducted in April 2009, the CDFA survey, summarized on the Institute for Divorce Financial Analysts website, indicated that the ways in which divorce proceedings are handled have changed substantially. With housing prices and IRA values plummeting, divorcing couples are looking for settlements of liquid assets only, and may find themselves in an indefinite holding pattern while they wait for the economy to recover.

73% of respondents said that the current housing market has forced their clients to consider creative solutions to property-division problems if the matrimonial home fails to sell – or would sell for far less than the mortgage. For example, 40 percent of respondents indicate that they have divorcing or divorced clients who have chosen to continue to live in separate areas of the marital home until the house sells or the market improves.

Donald D. Vanarelli, Esq., is an Accredited Professional Mediator and trained collaborative professional, founder of the New Jersey Collaborative Law Group (NJCLG), and currently serves as Chair of the NJCLG’s Education Committee. For more information on divorce mediation or the collaborative divorce process, see our website, at, or call our office, at 908-232-7400.