5 Critical Things to Know When Getting Divorced
While you may know many people who’ve been through divorce, whatever their experience was, yours will be different. That being said, there are some central themes that run through every divorce I’ve witnessed.
- You will never feel satisfied. No one plans their life around a divorce. We dream of the fairytale wedding, the perfect partner, the happy family. If you are blessed enough to achieve that, at some point you may experience a sense of peace. That never happens in divorce. Regardless of how reasonable and amicable the divorce was, no matter how great you both co-parent, or how financially stable you find yourselves, there will always be something that didn’t go the way you thought it would.
- Things will never be equal. Whether you live in a Community Property State where assets are divided ‘equally’ or a Common Law State where assets are divided ‘equitably’, nothing will be equal. It’s impossible to divvy up assets equally. Just determining what is marital and what isn’t will be an issue of contention. The kids will never spend exactly 50% of their time with you and you’ll never both have equal incomes regardless of what your support ends up being.
- Divorce goes as slow as the slowest person. This is sometimes the hardest reality to face. You may be ready with all your documents, have your legal team ready to go, know exactly what ‘makes sense’ and be sure that it’s just a matter of dotting I’s and crossing T’s. Well, your spouse may have other ideas, or the courts may be inundated, or your lawyer had a medical emergency and your kids got sick. And so it goes. Assume it will take around two years to get divorced in the best of cases, maybe one if you mediate amicably.
- Your divorce process will look like your marriage. If you and your spouse fought like cats and dogs, don’t expect a peaceful mediation. If you never communicated during your marriage, you’re not likely to reveal your innermost requests during the divorce process very easily. It will take time to figure out what it is you even want, let alone negotiate it with your spouse or spouse’s lawyer.
- Your lawyer represents you on issues of the law, that’s it. You may be lucky enough to get a very compassionate attorney who really cares about what you’re feeling. Bottom line is, he or she is not trained as your therapist. You want your lawyer to be the very best person to represent you, not to be a shoulder to cry on or to figure out how much money you spend or whether or not you should go on a date while you’re getting divorced. You attorney is also THE MOST EXPENSIVE hire who charges you by the hour often in 6 to 10-minute increments. At $600/hour, that email just cost you $100! Hire the professionals you need separately.
At the risk of being Debbie Downer, sometimes a reality check is the best advice you can get when you’re going through a divorce.