Tuesday, June 13, 2023

What To Know Before Getting A Divorce


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Being in a long-term relationship is generally very wholesome and amazing. You love being with that special someone and sharing every day with them. One of the saddest parts of your relationship is growing up and seeing other couples break up. People you’ve known for decades suddenly split up and go their separate ways. 

It’s increasingly common these days, with divorce rates being higher than ever before. But, is there more behind this that we haven’t considered? Is the divorce rate so high because people rush into this decision? It certainly feels like divorce is the first thing people think about the moments there are bumps in the road. If you’re currently going through some relationship issues, perhaps it's better if you take a step back and assess the whole situation. Think about what happens when you get a divorce and how it can affect not just your life, but the lives of others. 

Keeping that in mind, here’s what to know before getting a divorce: 

There can be a very stressful legal process

Splitting up with your partner doesn’t automatically mean you’re divorced. Divorce is a legal action, so you have to deal with a long and stressful legal process. Even the smoothest divorces take a few months to be finalized and approved. 

It’s worth understanding what you’ll have to go through during this period. There are loads of stressful topics that can drag on and really damage your mental health. One of the biggest concerns is who will get custody of the kids. In most cases, the mother wins. However, this isn’t always the case as the father can fight for custody if he wishes. As such, you’ll need to argue your case to try and secure custody, which typically means getting an attorney and a mediator. One of the benefits of family law mediation in child custody cases is that someone is there as a neutral party. So, you should get the fairest outcome based on the evidence put forward. 

Already, this sounds stressful - and there are more things to worry about. Who gets ownership of which assets? How much money are you entitled to from your partner? What about alimony or child support? 

This isn’t meant to convince you that divorce is not the right option. It most certainly is for a lot of couples, but think twice before you go ahead with it. Perhaps taking a break is all you need as a couple to reset and reignite your fire. The stress caused by a divorce can be long-lasting, so it’s not something you should jump into without any consideration. 

Single parenthood is difficult

Again, if you have kids, divorce is suddenly ten times more impactful on your life. You go from a two-parent family to a one-parent household in the blink of an eye. Some people have no problems with this, but single parenthood is undeniably harder. Especially if you work a full-time job and have young kids. What do you do? Can you rely on your ex-partner to help out when you’re at work? Will you be able to get family members to help? Do you need to pay for child support? 

It all leads to the big debate: is it worth staying together for the sake of your kids? I have some mixed feelings about this. In the past, I was fully on board with the argument that you shouldn’t stay together just for your kids. If you’re truly unhappy, why should you force yourself to be in a relationship you dislike? The other day, someone said to me, but what about your kids’ lives? If you did break up with your partner, how does that affect them? It could be mentally damaging and lead to them having unhappy childhoods or teen years. Is it fair to put your happiness above theirs? 

It’s a really good argument, which makes this topic so difficult. I think the best answer is to try your best to figure things out. If there are problems with your marriage, go to therapy or talk about them. As long as the issues aren’t majorly problematic - like domestic abuse or cheating - there could easily be ways to work through them. Just remember that being a single parent is very hard and can make life worse for both you and your kids. If you do want to get a divorce, make sure you have plans in place to deal with single parenthood. This could even be as simple as including in the divorce process that you need money every month from your partner for child support. 

It’s a costly procedure

Does this come as a shock to you, because it was a shock to me! It's easy to assume that divorce is simple and doesn’t cost loads of money. After all, you’re just severing the legal bond of marriage between two people. According to The Motley Fool, the median cost of a divorce is $7,500!!

That’s…the cost of a home renovation. It’s a deposit on a brand-new family car. In short, that’s a lot of money - and this is just the average. Some divorces can cost way more than that depending on how long they take and what state you’re in. 

Again, this isn’t meant to scare you into not getting a divorce. Just think for a moment, is there a better way to spend this money for your family/relationship? I touched upon it earlier, but think about paying for therapy. Hell, you could even go on a nice family holiday - it sounds stupid, but sometimes a break away from normal life is all that’s needed to rediscover the flame in a marriage. 

Overall, there’s a lot to know before getting a divorce as it greatly impacts your life. There are plenty of situations where it is absolutely the correct and only decision. If you’re in a troublesome relationship where you don’t feel safe or valued, then breaking up could be the best option. However, in cases when you’re maybe arguing or bickering a bit more than you used to, or you’re feeling extra stressed, perhaps divorce isn’t the option. It could be better to address some of the marital problems before you make such a big decision. 

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