It’s a new kind of domestic scenario that is spreading across the world as belts tighten in the long shadow of the Great Recession: couples who can’t afford to divorce.
Indeed, that’s the phenomenon that couples in Limerick, Ireland, are grappling with as they discover that their hearts and wallets aren’t rowing in the same direction.
“A lot of couples can’t afford any kind of separation,” Verena Tarpey, a family law advice service worker, commented in an with the Limerick Post. “They are making informal arrangements, with separate living quarters in the same house as they can’t afford separate accommodation”.
These “informal arrangements” can include a spouse living in an attic – or even in a converted outhouse.
However, it there’s a silver lining in this otherwise wholly unpleasant set of circumstances, it’s that more divorcing couples are turning away from litigation and towards mediation and other alternative dispute resolution options to end their marriage – a move that can (although not necessarily always) lead to a better overall outcome for both spouses and, especially, their children.
“It’s far more common in Limerick now for couples to seek a mediated separation rather than engaging solicitors and that is to be welcomed,“ Tarpey stated. “It’s also a less expensive option and they draw up the agreement themselves. Judges are honouring these agreements when people get as far as court.”
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