Cheaper, Faster Divorce Gains Popularity

When the honeymoon is over and that newlywed glow has faded, some couples whose marriages took off at the Stockholm airport -- or anywhere else, for that matter -- might decide they walked down the aisle a bit too hastily.

Now in the U.S. a faster, cheaper and some say friendlier method of ending a marriage is becoming more common for couples who find their love has soured, whether they had a quickie wedding or not.

In collaborative divorces both spouses agree not to go to court. Instead, with their lawyers they decide what to do about alimony, child support, division of property and other issues. Sometimes other experts such as psychologists, financial planners, mediators and even ministers are called in to help.

Collaborative divorce takes about 6 to 8 months, as opposed to more than a year for traditional proceedings, according to Christine Whitehead, a Hartford divorce attorney.

And the process costs between $2,500 and $5,000 as opposed to $7,500 or more, according to Peter Wiere, from the Coalition for Collaborative Divorce in California.

"The cost and time factor are very big parts of the appeal," said Frances Z. Calafiore, a founding member of the Collaborative Divorce Lawyers Association in Connecticut. "That's because in all these cases, the parties control the timing, not the courts."

Some naysayers argue that collaborative divorce offers fewer legal protections than the standard court proceedings, while others scoff that it's too experimental and new.

Advocates say it's less emotionally draining than the usual way.

"Traditional divorce destroys families," said Wiere. "To do it collaboratively has better potential to be less devastating and have a less damaging effect."

But hopefully couples who wed on the go, whether at the Stockholm airport or anywhere else, won't have to consider divorce, and instead will find that their marriage leads straight to Happily Ever After.