At their wedding, couples promise to stay together for better or for worse.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work out that way. In fact, experts indicate that as many as 50% of marriages end in divorce.
In spite of how common it is, divorce is often very difficult. The process is especially challenging because most people involved in divorces have never been through the process before.
So even couples who mutually agree to separate can experience ugly divorce proceedings. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Here’s our best divorce advice to help you get through the process as painlessly as possible.
Get divorce advice from a good lawyer
Sometimes, parties involved in a divorce are reluctant to hire a divorce lawyer. If they have an amicable relationship with their spouse, they may fear that getting an attorney involved can make things contentious.
Just because you hire a lawyer, though, doesn’t mean that you can’t have an amicable divorce.
In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Hiring a lawyer is simply taking an important step towards understanding the divorce process. A lawyer will help you learn the language of divorce, and will ensure that your rights are protected.
Do your research
That said, sometimes people getting divorced make the opposite mistake. They hire a lawyer and expect that their legal counsel will handle everything.
Yes, it is your lawyer’s job to help you through the divorce proceedings, but it is your job to learn about the process.
Educating yourself will help you to better communicate your needs to your lawyer.
Additionally, apart from the custody of children, division of shared property is the most difficult aspect of divorce. Gaining a better understanding of your finances will help you navigate this process.
Have realistic expectations
Often, divorce battles drag on because one or both spouses have unrealistic expectations about how much many they should get, or how much they can pay.
The process will go a lot more smoothly if you go in understanding your rights and responsibilities.
At the end of the day, unless you had a prenuptial agreement, the spouse who makes more money will likely have to pay alimony. The sooner you accept this piece of divorce advice, the easier it will be to negotiate a reasonable number.
That said, if you are the spouse who makes less money, understand that you probably won’t get as much support as you think you deserve.
Unfortunately, one of the hard truths about divorce is that you will likely have to make adjustments to your lifestyle. This is simply what happens when you take one household and break it off into two separate ones.
Pick your battles
Once you accept that your life will change after divorce, it will be easier to set your priorities.
A good piece of divorce advice is to remember that the most important things are the items that money can’t buy. Things like family heirlooms, photo albums, and keepsakes are important to get a hold of.
Additionally, you can’t put a price on your personal health and mental well-being. While it is important to fight for a fair settlement, at a certain point it’s just not worth squabbling over pennies.
On the same note, don’t get greedy. Sometimes, spouses going through a divorce try to hide money in secret accounts or to sell off assets.
In the long run, moves like these will end up making you look bad in court, and can do more harm than good.
Put your kids’ needs first
When two adults go through a divorce proceeding, it can be easy to forget about the people caught in the middle: the children.
If you have young children, keep in mind that the divorce will likely be just as challenging for them as it is for you. In some cases, it can be even more difficult for them.
That said, don’t fall into the trap of believing that divorcing makes you a bad parent. Many couples try to keep the marriage together for the kids. This is probably why couples with children are less likely to divorce than couples without kids.
But staying in a bad marriage can be even more damaging to children than a divorce.
The key is to keep your children’s needs a priority throughout the divorce proceedings.
One way to do this is to avoid using your children as gambling chips with your spouse. Remember, your children are not assets to be won. They are people whose lives are being affected.
Unless you are leaving an abusive situation, it is likely in your children’s best interest that they have contact with both of their parents. Working to achieve a custody agreement that meets these needs is crucial to your children’s health.
Try to settle out of court
When divorce proceedings go to court, they tend to get more complicated. A judge with little knowledge of the situation ends up making decisions about who gets what property, and where the children will live.
Settling matters through a legal mediation is often a better approach.
Hiring a dedicated mediator can help ease negotiations between both parties.This process can often conclude much more quickly than a lengthy court battle. Not to mention, settling out of court is much less expensive.
Take healthy steps for self-care
When discussing divorce, it is easy to get wrapped up talking about shared assets, custody, and living arrangements. These are all only business aspects of a divorce.
It’s important to remember, however, that divorce has many emotional components. No matter how sour your marriage has gone, in most cases, you started out wanting to be married to the other person. This can make divorce very painful.
Additionally, this emotional trauma can have negative health effects.
So, as you go through the process, be sure to take steps to care for yourself. Seeing a therapist can be a great way to talk through your feelings, and come to terms with the end of your marriage.
If your need divorce advice, contact us. We’ll put you in touch with a lawyer who can help you with your unique situation.