5 things you should consider when getting a divorce

Whist it may feel like you’re the only one in the world going through a divorce, the statistics show otherwise; around 50% of marriages in the US break down and end up in the divorce courts. Most people who enter in a divorce don’t do so lightly, sometimes it’s a decision that’s been taken after many years.

When coming to the decision of having a divorce, it pays to be prepared for what lies ahead for you and your family through this process and what might make your life easier.

1. Children 

The divorce you are about to embark on won’t be just you and your spouse’s divorce but it will become the family divorce and that of your children too. Your children’s needs should be at the forefront of your mind, and they will certainly be at the forefront of court decisions. Who will take care of them on a daily basis? Where will evenings, weekends or holiday be spent? If a child gets sick who will be in charge of their care and/or their insurance needs? Who will look after them and bring them up?

Are your kids old enough to understand what divorce means? How will your children and are you prepared to support them — and/or for a fallout? Your kids will probably have plenty of questions to ask you, so it’s important to be prepared for all questions that may come up and it’s best if this can be done with your spouse.

2. Finances

Very often, going through a divorce can be plan sailing until it comes to the money factor and then things can take a turn for the worst. Whist getting divorced might seem like you’ll be splitting apart from your partner, you’re also going to have to split yourselves financially as well. If one spouse is the sole bread winner or has significantly more financial input to the relationship, it can throw a spanner in the works.

A misconception is that everything should be split 50-50 and whilst some states support this, doesn’t always happen this way. The courts will decide what is fair based on many factors. Are you prepared to fight for what you feel is rightly yours? Are you prepared to take into account not only family assets such as savings, property and income, but debts too?

3. Be prepared for it to take time 

Whilst the television may advertise quickie divorces, this is rarely the case; be prepared long term as most states have cooling off period set into each divorce (in case you both change your minds) whereby a certain timeframe must pass before the divorce can be finalized (dissolution of marriage) and the decree issued.

Depending on the complexity of your divorce, you may have to deal with child custody orders, financial issues and bills that can run longer than you were prepared for. All this can be draining on you physically and psychologically. These stresses are to be expected and is something you should try to be prepared for.

But what could you consider to save your marriage (or make divorce a little easier)?

After considering some of these high level factors, you may be tempted to rethink divorce through again. Is this the only way? Is there anything you could do before visiting your divorce lawyer?

4. Plan some “us time” away 

Getting away from home, family and well-meaning friends may give you time for thought and help change your perspective of things. Having time as just a couple to talk over things (without having small children or other distractions around) could help take some of the strain off your marriage. Lack of communication is one of the main areas where marriages can end up with problems. But by taking the time to connect again as a couple and what you want from your marriage could help steer you away from separation or divorce.

5. Try Counselling 

If things still don’t seem to be progressing, even after some time away it may be wise to get professional help. Sometimes when we’re in the middle of a problem it can be hard to see the wood for the trees. But having a third party who’s not personally involved in the situation can help to make things a lot clearer. While it may seem that there isn’t any common ground to work with at the moment, a counsellor can help you to get to the core of your marriage and what you both give to each other. Even if having counselling doesn’t keep you both from still going to the divorce courts, it may help smooth things out when it comes to negotiating your terms and working together for your divorce settlement which will mean money saved in the long term.

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