Many people stay in bad marriages far too long and move forward only when the situation becomes so severe that there is a lot of anger and resentment between the spouses. Letting things go that far makes the process of ending your marriage more emotionally and financially costly than it needs to be. It is also more harmful to the children.
So, why don’t people take the first step and move forward before things get out of hand? The main barriers are typically concerns about a divorce’s financial cost and the emotional toll on the family, especially the children. In this post, we will look at ways you can reduce the financial and emotional costs of ending your marriage.
Consider a dissolution instead of divorce. The dissolution process minimizes the involvement of the court and allows you and your spouse to agree on how all the issues will be resolved. A dissolution can be done with no attorneys or just one and is generally much faster process and much less expensive. However, it does require that both spouses agree on all issues.
Be ready to compromise. If you go in with a win-at-all-costs attitude, the divorce will take longer, be more contentious and expensive than it needs to be – and you still won’t get everything you want. Keep in mind that both people, and the children, need to be able to live in a reasonable manner when the process is done. Finding a reasonable middle ground will save time, money and emotional stress.
Think of the divorce as a financial process, because that’s primarily what it is. Certainly, there are non-financial issues to deal with, but finances, assets and debt are the starting point for any divorce.
Evaluate what your financial post-divorce life will look like and that of your spouse. Be honest with yourself. Be realistic about it. If you enter the process with realistic expectations, it will help to remove uncertainty and stress. It will also help you understand the lifestyle changes that will have to be made.
Be honest about your assets. Go into the divorce knowing that you will not be able to hide any assets or financial information from the other side. If you try to hide assets, it will only prolong the divorce process and make it more expensive.
Hire a therapist to discuss your emotions. Experienced attorneys certainly understand that emotion is part of a divorce, but they are not mental health professionals. The most effective way to deal with your emotional issues is to work with a personal counselor. It can also be helpful for the children to see a counselor to help them through the divorce process and life changes. Easing the emotional stress of the children will likely ease your emotional stress.
Don’t let family members get involved. Your loved ones are well-meaning, but, in most situations, family and friends complicate the divorce process because they focus on what they think is best for their family member, instead of the bigger picture. That often causes delays and increases the cost.
Don’t rely on friends and neighbors for divorce advice. Everybody’s experiences and circumstances are different. A good solution for your friend’s divorce might be a very bad strategy for your situation.
Stay away from social media. In the realm of social media, the very best thing you can do during the divorce is to close your social media accounts or, at least, not post. You might think that a rant on a social media platform will help your cause, but it is more likely to harm it. If you absolutely must post, keep it neutral and unrelated to your divorce and other personal matters.
Consider mediation. Mediation is a process that can help you achieve an agreement on all or some of the terms of your divorce. Doing that will save time and money and make the process less stressful. It may also make it possible for you to avoid the divorce process and end your marriage by dissolution.
Do you have questions?
If you have questions about divorce or mediation and how it applies to your situation, contact an experienced divorce lawyer.