Kitchen Table Divorce
What Is It And How Can It Work For You?
As we all know, relationships are infinitely complex and varied. Sometimes, no matter how much effort they’ve put into the relationship, two people find themselves beginning to drift naturally apart. In the case of a marriage, it can be an especially difficult decision to move toward a permanent legal separation or divorce. If you find yourself in this situation, however, it may be comforting to know that there are very easy, drama-free options for you and your current spouse to bring your marriage to an end. One of these options is nicknamed the “Kitchen Table Divorce.”
The name “Kitchen Table Divorce” comes from the idea of being able to just sit down with your spouse and a professional mediator at the kitchen table and work out the terms of your separation amicably and without unnecessary drama. Effectively, the couple sits down with an attorney/mediator at a table to come up with a mutual separation agreement that addresses all outstanding issues. With the help of the mediator, the two parties determine the appropriate distribution of previously-shared assets, parenting plan and child related pieces, work out a plan to settle any outstanding debts, and consider other less obvious elements like spousal support, survivor benefits and/or issues of ensuring continuous health coverage. By doing so in the presence of an experienced attorney mediator, you and your soon-to-be ex can rest assured that all necessary aspects of the separation have been addressed properly and agreed upon amicably. Many couples attempting to handle everything on their own without help of a professional realize afterwards that even one meeting could have prevented an unintented pitfall or consequence due to something left out of the paperwork or not addressed. It’s very costly, and sometimes not possible, to amend a divorce agreement after signed by the court. Thus, it’s important to meet with a mediator even if you and your spouse believe all has been agreed upon and no disputes exist.
Once a somewhat informal Kitchen Table Divorce agreement has been drafted, the couple in question can then file the appropriate divorce (or dissolution of marriage, as it’s known in the state of Oregon) documents with the circuit court. Each party to the divorce may also choose to retain a separate attorney from the mediator to review the previously-agreed-upon terms, as the mediator may provide independent legal advice to both parties. Regardless, so long as the terms are truly fair and agreed upon, your divorce is likely to move through the system quickly with few (if any) difficulties and at a fraction of the cost of a contentious divorce.