Nobody gets married with the belief that a few years, or even decades, down the line they’ll be considering visiting a divorce lawyer. In fact, most couples get married with enthusiasm and hope for an ever-lasting relationship. Unfortunately, marriage can be a difficult construct to maintain, and can break down in ways that we are unprepared to deal with. While some problems in a relationship can be overcome, others lead to the dissolution of a marriage that is impossible to repair. Rather than continuing to live in a painful or unhappy situation, this is when many people consider divorce.
Of course, no matter how bad the situation may seem, there’s always a nagging question in the back of your mind when you’re considering divorce – a question that many of my clients ask me: “How can I know for sure that divorce is the right choice?” This is not a question that I can answer for them. Many clients may hope for a checklist of features that can convince them whether divorce is the right step forwards or not, the truth is that dissolving a marriage will always be a personal decision. Only the people within a marriage can know whether it is right for them to divorce or not. In many instances chances are you’ll have a lot of considerations to address regarding whether to divorce or not. This article will touch upon some of the more negative aspects and mention the positive. My next article will enumerate the benefits that many find from moving on from what they view as a negative marriage.
The Positives Results of Divorce
Of course, divorce isn’t all about doom and gloom. While it’s true that there are many concerns to think about, from maintenance payments, to a loss of inheritance, to concerns about child custody, there are also a range of positive things that can stem from divorce. After all, many spouses can find that they become trapped in toxic relationships that damage their self-esteem and make them question their identity – in this case, getting a divorce can be a way to take control of your life back. With some professional assistance, whether with a lawyer or divorce mediator you can address your the issues needed to be settled in a divorce and engage in your own period of self-reflection and healing that leads to a more positive future for you, and your family. Eventually, people’s confidence can grow, and they often find that they are a happier person. After all, it’s difficult for anyone to thrive in a relationship that simply isn’t working.
At the same time, the financial considerations in divorce can offer a positive result for you. You can cut a person off from inheritance that you no longer want them to receive, and ensure that they don’t get their hands on assets that are earned after the filing date for your divorce. If you are the less monied spouse, then your concerns regarding finances may be alleviated by the presence of maintenance payments and child support is always a big subject as well!
Of course, the biggest benefit of divorce for most couples is that they can get closure, and exit a relationship that is not working or full of conflict. For some people, this will mean finally escaping a life that is mired by the threat of abuse and emotional turmoil, whereas for others, it will simply mean opening themselves up to an opportunity for a happier existence.
Emotions and Relationships
Divorce is usually an emotional matter. While I do my best to make the process as simple and painless as possible for the people I work with, I also need to prepare them for a financial and emotional rollercoaster. Though most people know that divorce is going to be tough and painful, it’s important to remember that no matter what led to the end of your marriage, you will need to expect a series of difficult-to-manage emotions and feelings that could push you to behave in unexpected ways, saying and doing things that you would never do otherwise. The emotions present in divorce can spur conflict throughout other parts of your life, and it’s important to be prepared for that. Sometimes relationships with people outside of your marriage can suffer.
It isn’t just your emotions that are a concern. People need to be cognizant about the amount of money they might have in their bank accounts and their relationships with their children.
The Finances in Divorce
When you’re moving through a divorce, there will be several financial considerations to think about. For instance, when your divorce is finalized, you may discover that you lose entitlement to your other half’s health insurance, and thus need to find a way to protect yourself in the future. At the same time, the marital portions of retirement accounts that were earned before the filing of the divorce will need to be split between you and your ex-spouse – potentially reducing or enhancing your protection for the future, depending on which side of the issue you find yourself. For some, this expense can come at the same time when you’re struggling to deal with the complications of adjusting to a new lifestyle without the income of a secondary provider. Often, many recently divorced individuals can find that they struggle to maintain the lifestyle that they had when they were married, due to a lack of funds. It is more expense to maintain two household compared to one. You may need to watch your budget unlike ever before.
On the other hand, if you are considered to be the “monied” spouse, then you may also have a range of expenses to think about. For instance, you may be expected to pay maintenance to the other spouse for a period of time to help them get back on their feet so to speak. On the other hand, you might be the recipient of maintenance. New York now has guidelines for maintenance, based on income, similar to the fact that New York as had guidelines for maintenance. Spouses may lose the inheritance that they had expected from their ex-spouse.
The Children in Divorce
One of the biggest concerns that clients have when they approach me about the considerations present in divorce, is that their children will be negatively affected by the coming split. Though there is some evidence that children will struggle from difficult emotions in response to their family dynamic being broken, many professionals believe that children will adjust well over time as outlined in the linked article from Scientific American. As I have blogged about before, studies have shown that parental conflict during a relationship and during or after a divorce have the greatest correlation with developmental issues for children. In the prior studies I have cited, the children in high conflict relationships do worse if the parents remain together. The Scientific American article points out that there is always a concern surrounding numerous negative effects, from school delinquency to depression, and social problems, it was found that most children are not affected in the long term.
In cases that involve custody battles, parents undergoing divorce often fight tooth and nail to ensure that they get the correct amount of parenting time with their child, or achieve custody if it is in the best interests of that child. If that wasn’t enough, while parties are free to agree upon what they consider to be fair for child support, equitable distribution and maintenance in a mediation or collaborative setting, if people choose litigation, they may find that you end up receiving less from your ex-spouse than you expected, or paying more than they feel is fair. That is because a Judge decides the case for them if it proceeds all the way through a trial.
I hope the foregoing helped reference some of the bad and good considerations in a divorce. Again the next article will focus more so upon the positives. After all, if you are searching the internet about divorce, you are probably going through a tough time. To learn more about the issues involved with divorce, please feel free to move through our website, or contact me, Darren M. Shapiro for your free thirty-minute consultation. You can get in touch via our online form or through a phone call to 516-333-6555.