Making the decision to get a divorce is rarely an easy one—but it is sometimes the best option for couples who have problems that cannot be resolved or who simply are no longer clicking together in a healthy, loving way.
The ending of any marriage brings about a lot of challenges and stressful events for the spouses and their kids. During such a time understanding the legal divorce process or knowing the steps to get a divorce can be very difficult for anyone.
When to get a divorce? how to start the divorce process? and even how to get divorce papers are a few of many questions that you would need an answer for before you dive into the process of divorce.
On the other hand, knowing the process of getting a divorce can make your journey through divorce proceedings much easier.
While getting a divorce isn’t easy, it doesn’t have to be difficult; consider the following essentials as what you need to know on how to get a divorce.
1. Be wary of divorce advice
One of the first steps in getting a divorce is to be cautious of who is advising you and how credible they are. Once you tell people—friends, family, or otherwise—that you are getting a divorce, be prepared for an avalanche of divorce advice. While the advice is almost always well-meaning, be sure to take everything with a grain of salt.
People often forget how personal divorce can be, and they may end up trying to apply the advice to a situation where it may not help or apply—such as advising you to “work your problems out” when you and your partner have spent the last year doing just that. You don’t have to discount divorce advice entirely, but make sure to keep it at arm’s length.
2. It can get very expensive
Most people do not realize that getting a divorce is a very expensive process. A standard divorce proceeding can cost anywhere from $10,000 to $30,000 due to the high price of court proceedings and the high fees charged by divorce attorneys.
If the divorce is not amicable, you will usually have to hire a divorce lawyer to help you—if the divorce is (thankfully) amicable, you may be able to use a trained divorce mediator, which will be much more affordable.
Once you have decided to get a divorce, start setting aside money right away. You will probably need it!
Make a list of every single shared account and act fast
When most people want to know how to get divorced, they focus on the custody of children, who gets the home, and splitting up property; something which many people forget about are shared accounts, including bank accounts, retirement accounts, beneficiary trusts, and so on.
Once you have decided on getting a divorce, make a list of every single shared account that you and your partner have together. You will need to close all of these accounts as soon as possible and, in cases where the money is yours, consider legal action to block your soon-to-be-ex-spouse from accessing them before they have time to take the money out.
There have been countless divorce cases where an angry spouse drains the savings and checking accounts, leaving their former partner without a penny to their name—and no legal recourse.
The laws regarding shared bank accounts may vary from state to state. Depending on your state’s laws, you may be legally required to prove what money in a shared account came from your income before you can withdraw it—while other states consider all money in shared accounts to be ‘fair game’ for either partner in the marriage.
Also watch: 7 Most Common Reasons for Divorce
3. Limit your family’s involvement
The emotional toll that a person goes through during divorce is not something they can not share with everyone. Having your family and friend’s as a support network would definitely help you to get through your divorce.
However, as good as the support from family and friends is, you need to ensure that they are not your first preference for counseling in such a difficult time. Their opinions and feelings about you or your spouse would get in the way of them being productive towards the divorce process.
The process of divorce can be very cruel and tends to bring out resentment and anger for your spouse. In the heat of the moment saying something mean to your spouse is very likely. Even though it might not be damaging to the spouses, it can be very detrimental for the children.
Remember to think before you speak in the presence of your kids. No matter how bad your relationship is with your spouse, do not let it affect how your kids perceive you as parents.
Refer to a mental health professional to help the kids through your divorce, and seek counseling yourself to know what your kids might need from you when getting a divorce.
4. Stop reminiscing
Obsessing about a relationship once it has ended is very common and expected. However, the extent to which you consume yourself in your past relationships affects how soon and effectively you can move ahead in your life.
Similarly, after a divorce, it takes time to process what has happened and learn to move on. Everyone adjusts at their own pace, but it is always recommended to find a way to forgive yourself, your partner, and focus on the future.
Life goes on, and the more time you spend wallowing about what was and what could have been does not change anything, but only affects your belief and ability to trust that things would eventually work out.
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.
Sylvia Smith loves to share insights on how couples can revitalize their love lives in and out of the bedroom. As a writer at Marriage.com, she is a big believer in living consciously and encourages couples to adopt this principle in their lives too. Sylvia believes that every couple can transform their relationship into a happier, healthier one by taking purposeful and wholehearted action.