And what to expect along the way
Going through a divorce is stressful for everyone involved, including spouses and their children. Pop culture has ingrained the idea that one “wins” divorce, but it is so much more complicated than that.
Dealing with the legal process and financial obligations can be overwhelming, let alone the parenting aspect. Then there is the healing process and moving forward either living single or dating. All of this amounts to enormous stress, but there are ways to get through and begin a new chapter in life.
The Legal Process
Filing Petition For Divorce
The petition is written by one spouse who is the petitioner and then served to the other spouse. This petition is later filed in the state court where the couple lives, and will include:
- Name of Husband
- Name of Wife
- Names of Children
It will also state if there is any separate or community property as well as child custody and child and spousal support.
Serving Petition For Divorce
The next step is serving the petition, also called service of process. If both spouses agree to the divorce, then the only thing that needs to be done is a signing, which acknowledges the receipt. However, if the other spouse refuses to sign or cannot be located, a professional process server should be hired to serve the papers.
Once these papers have been signed, the divorce process will begin to move forward. At this point, spouses are not allowed to:
- Take children out of state
- Sell any property
- Borrow against property
- Borrow or sell insurance held for the other spouse
Divorce Petition Response
The other spouse, also called the “respondent” can file a response saying he or she agrees. This process shows that both parties are in agreement, which will allow the case to proceed without a court hearing, which could delay the court process and end up costing much more. This response can also be used to dispute any information presented in the petition.
Final Steps In The Divorce Process
Both parties are required to disclose any information about their income, expenses, assets, and liabilities. If both parties agree at this point on all the terms, then the court will enter a judgment at which point the divorce is final. However, there is a waiting period if the spouses want to remarry.
Some couples enter into marriage with a signed contract, such as a prenuptial agreement. Having a prenuptial agreement allows for a resolution to many of the issues that most likely will come up during the divorce proceedings.
The Financial Process
Divorce financially affects women, men, and children in different ways.
- Financial Effect on Women – Women generally suffer more financially than men from a divorce, which is usually the most considerable burden during the first year after a divorce.
- Financial Effect on Men – Most men will experience a 10-40% drop in their standard of living.
- Financial Effect on Children – Children will have less time with their parents, fewer opportunities for after school activities, and possibly lose health insurance.
The Parenting Process
It is essential to take the time to help your kids understand what is happening because often, kids will think it is their fault. Co-parenting allows both parents to stay involved in their children’s daily activities and enables the children to maintain close relationships with both parents.
The following are four tips to help in making the co-parenting process work:
Set Aside The Hurt and Anger
Your children’s feelings should come first rather than the parents.
- Try venting your feelings to a therapist or friend, but not to your child.
- Stay focused on your child’s best interest, and never put your child in the middle by making them the messenger.
- Avoid saying negative things about your ex in front of your child.or make them feel as if they have to choose one parent over the other.
Make Improvements Communicating With Your Ex
Miscommunications are inevitable, but there are ways to smooth out the rough edges.
- Try speaking to your ex as though he or she is a co-worker by being cordial and respectful.
- Instead of making demands, try making requests, which can begin with a question like, “Would you be willing to…..?”
- Listen to what your ex has to say, regardless of whether you agree or not.
Be Team Players
Co-parenting should be a team effort with your children’s best interest in mind.
- Be consistent in making decisions together, especially regarding medical, educational, and financial issues.
- Resolve any disagreements respectfully and be willing to compromise.
- Keep communication between the two of you without directly involving the children.
Make The Visitation Process Easy
Every time a child goes from one parent’s home to the other, it is difficult emotionally, so making the transition as smooth as possible is critical.
- Remind your child a few days before their visit with your ex to get things ready to bring.
- Drop your child off at your ex’s home but do not pick up as this can interrupt a special moment.
- When your child returns, help reduce the initial awkwardness that may occur by giving space if needed. You can also have the same special meal ready for them as kids thrive on routine.
Be There For Your Children Physically And Emotionally
Taking time to be with your child physically is excellent, but being emotionally present is also essential.
- Listening to what your child tells you is vital.
- Show interest in your child’s life in all aspects, including school and their extracurricular activities.
- Talking to your child about their thoughts and feelings, especially during the divorce process, can help strengthen your bond with one another.
The Healing Process
Going through a divorce can be devastating financially, mentally, and emotionally. Depending on the length of the marriage, the healing time can vary as everyone is different.
The following are five steps to help make the healing process easier:
- Have a healthy support system, such as family and friends who can help when you need a shoulder to cry on, or just someone to listen.
- Find a recovery group for divorce that will help you better understand by listening to others going through the same process.
- Allow yourself to grieve and feel the emotions, whether that means crying, or getting angry, because holding emotions inside will not help you heal.
- Be kind and patient with yourself because healing takes time, but it will get better.
- Keeping a journal of your feelings can further benefit the healing process through the discovery of deeper feelings about your marriage.
The Moving On Process
When you start looking for someone else to share your life with after a divorce, it can be scary for many people. Whether you choose to stay single or pursue dating, there are a few dating tips to keep in mind.
- Beware of dating scammers that prey on vulnerable divorcees.
- Make sure you are really over your ex before the dating process begins.
- Create a relationship map where you write down what worked in your past relationship and what did not work, so you do not make the same mistakes again.
- Listen to your instincts, and if something doesn’t feel right, move on.
- Be patient, because dating is a process that takes time.
Taking everything one day at a time is imperative, as is taking care of yourself. “Winning” a divorce will look different than what you see on screens and in the media. There will be setbacks along the way, but know that you will get through it and come out a happier and stronger person when it is over.
Divorce means the end of a relationship, but it doesn’t mean it is the end of who you are as a person. Your new life awaits, so take your time and grieve when you need to, and you will heal when you are ready.
Photo Credit: https://pixabay.com/photos/divorce-separation-marriage-breakup-619195/