Divorce is an unfortunate fact of life. It’s true that there remain people who say that they don’t “believe” in divorce; but it isn’t an imaginary concept. It happens daily, to a variety of different people. Indeed, divorce is not always a negative thing, and usually has positive long-term results for the people involved — certainly more positive results than those achieved by staying in a marriage that just isn’t working. Yet there remains a stigma surrounding separation and divorce, to the point that many people, having decided on an informal separation, delay moving forward with legal proceedings. Dragging your feet on a divorce only makes it harder to finish the task once you actually want it done. Being legally married to someone you don’t want to be married to puts a major hold on your life. It’s the equivalent of walking in place, getting nowhere. It can also jeopardize your chances of getting the custody agreement you want should you have minor children, and can make it more difficult to divide up assets. Let’s look into what divorce is really about — why it happens, how you should move forward, and how a divorce attorney can help you in the long term.
Why Does Divorce Happen?
Although divorce rates are constantly-changing, the numbers are never small. Right now, about 42% of American marriages end in divorce. That means that millions of people are making the difficult choice to end their marriages each year. Most of the time — that is, 80% of the time — these divorces are initiated by women. It doesn’t seem to matter much if the marriage is a first marriage or a second, with about 60% of second marriages ending in divorce. The point is that if you find yourself facing a divorce, you shouldn’t feel ashamed — it happens to many people, for plenty of different reasons. Some marriages end simply because people fall out of love, an unfortunate reality of being human. Others end due to infidelity; while 20 to 25% of couples in divorce mediation end their marriages due to an affair, 80% say that the main reason for divorce is a lack of intimacy. The reason why you’re divorcing will affect the way you go about it, especially if you have a prenuptial agreement with clauses regarding things like infidelity or fraud. If your spouse was unfaithful, for example, this could affect the outcome in your favor. On a more serious note, you should certainly take measures to protect yourself if your marriage involved domestic violence. While any accusations of domestic violence will be taken into account during a divorce, the stress of a divorce can also heighten the risk for more violence.
What Should I Consider When Approaching Divorce?
Much of what you’ll end up working through during a divorce can be planned during a separation period. While some approach separation as a trial period, during which a couple can possibly reconcile, others have already made their final decisions prior to a legal divorce. Whether or not your separation is simply a formality on the way to a definite divorce, you need to think about what you and your spouse will be splitting. The most important thing for parents with minor children to consider is custody. Try not to turn a custody agreement in a battlefield; this is never good for a child. Furthermore, should a custody battle go to court, judges are more likely to favor arrangements in which parents split time anyway, unless one parent is completely unsuitable. If you don’t have minor children, there are still plenty of things that will need to be split. This includes assets like property, furniture, and much more. If you have pets, you’ll have to think long and hard about who gets ownership of them. Of course, none of this can be done without a lawyer.
At a glance, you may think that you can go through a divorce without a lawyer. No matter how amicable the split, it is a legal matter.