Divorce is something that by the numbers, is not something that has affected you personally as someone who has been divorced or as a child of divorce, has likely affected someone in your personal circle. CDC statistics show that the divorce rate is roughly 3.2 per 1,000 population, and that’s total, not just married people. What will keep a marriage from ending in divorce is a topic for another discussion, but what we can say is that it can be done amicably, or end badly, with a prolonged court case, large legal fees, and a massive emotional toll.
Part of what can lead to a bad divorce is misinformation on the act itself and how to handle it. Pop-culture portrayals and high-profile divorces have created a distorted image of what really takes place. Here are some common myths busted as well as some truths—some harsh, that can lead to a smoother and healthier divorce process.
Part of what you need to realize is that in many cases, divorce is not even an expensive process. For example, when it comes to handling finances and property, if you and your spouse are able to be understanding and patient with each other, you can forgo a court case completely, either by handling things themselves, or by bringing on a divorce mediator. Divorce mediators are specifically trained to help guide your discussions over who gets what, and will end up filing the necessarily legal paperwork.
However, you also need to realize that not all divorces are the same. For example, each state has different laws regarding important aspects of divorce, so legal advice you get from a friend or family member may not even apply. This can especially be difficult when it comes to dealing with children. While divorce is not a guaranteed damaging affair for children, it can be if a lack of understanding of family law in your state, not just in general, takes root. In order to avoid getting tangled up in this confusion, you may want to consult lawyers for family law matters even before you start the formal filing process. Doing this, among other things, will allow you to start gathering important evidence that you may need to make a case for custody or child support should things come to that.
When it comes to handling the truths of divorce, do expect an emotional toll, even if your spouse is understanding and the divorce is a no-fault divorce. Part of the reason why is that no matter how helpful the people around you are, you are still going through a massive upheaval through your life. At times, you can be bogged down wondering how you are going to handle your altered finances, how you approach mutual friends and family, and we haven’t even gotten through dealing with the fact that your marriage hasn’t worked out. For this reason, while it may trigger negative associations for some, seeing a therapist or mental health professional is generally a good idea. Leaning on friends and family for emotional support is certainly something you can do, but what a therapist allows is teaching you exercises and behavior that can help you work through your struggle.
Part of the reason why the emotional toll for divorce is high is that there is no guaranteed timeframe for the divorce. For example, in the state of Indiana, you legally need 60 days minimum to finalize a divorce. In general, the process takes even longer, six to 10 months on average. While you may be able to cope at first, working through this process for an extended period of time can wear anyone down.
Another reality you have to deal with, especially if your divorce goes sour or your marriage ends with negative feelings on one of both sides, is that divorce is not a weapon to get back at your spouse. As we mentioned before, the varying state laws rarely guarantee that one side “wins” when it comes to divorce. As a result, trying to use the legal system to try and get back at your spouse will not only fail, but it may backfire your attempts at legitimate claims and concerns you have. To be clear, there is no such thing as “winning” a divorce. This mentality only serves to hurt everyone involved, especially any children.
Part of the reason why divorce lawyers are such an important component of cases where they are needed is the fact that their expertise will help you cut through a lot of these myths. In your initial consultations, don’t be afraid to ask questions. Misinformation leads to more emotional turmoil, use knowledge to fight back.