Last week, we talked about the poor economy keeping unhappy couples together. This week, we'll explore some of the options those couples have for getting divorced without losing all of their assets.

All of the things that must be decided during divorce - property division, child custody, child support - can seem even more difficult during a recession. But there are ways to end a marriage without breaking the bank.

One of the biggest fears divorcing couples have is taking a loss by selling their marital home. For some, selling the house and splitting the loss may be the best option. However, there are other creative solutions that can help some couples keep more of their assets.

Instead of selling the home, a couple who is determined to reach an amicable agreement could choose to keep the house. The amount of equity the couple already has would be factored into their joint assets. Then one spouse would keep the home, while the other spouse would receive additional assets to offset the difference.

Others may choose to draft an agreement outlining the requirements for the eventual sale of the home. When the economy bounces back, the couple would adhere to that agreement and split the profits at that point.

The same principles can be applied to family businesses. For many people, selling or dissolving the family business is not the best approach. If a couple is able to continue a working relationship, the divorce agreement could include a detailed description outlining each spouse's ongoing responsibilities to the business after the divorce.

The one thing couples should not do to save money is avoid talking to a family lawyer. Do-it-yourself forms can leave you in a worse position in the long run because they do not take into account each state's specific laws. They also cannot provide alternative suggestions that may be best for your family's future.

Source: Wall Street Journal, "Breaking Up Without Breaking the Bank," Mary Pilon, 28 Aug 2010