So, you and your partner have decided to split. Filing for divorce can be a very scary and emotional time. It may feel like your whole life is changing. There are many things to think about. Here is a short list of five key things to consider.
1. This is an emotional time. Filing for divorce is difficult for everyone involved. Not only are you losing your spouse, but you may be losing other family or friends too. A divorce is especially hard on children. Your child may act out, try to constructively communicate with them. Seek help if you or your children’s emotions seem to be spiraling out of control.
2. Who will get custody of your child? In addition to considering your children’s emotions, you must think about custody. You and your soon-to-be ex-spouse may have a dispute over who should be the custodial parent. Make sure to be as involved in your child’s life as possible. The parent that is considered the primary caretaker of your child is most likely to get custody.
3. Cost. Another aspect that people may not think of when filing for divorce is the cost. Getting a divorce is a lengthy and costly process, make sure you can afford your attorney and other fees. The average cost of divorce is about $15,000 per person.
4. A divorce won’t fix everything. Remember that a divorce will not automatically fix all your problems. Especially if you have children, you will still have to communicate with your ex-spouse on a semi-regular basis. As parents, you will now have to figure out how to co-parent as a nonmarried couple.
5. Focus on the future. It may be hard to think of happier times when you are in a bitter custody battle with your ex but remember that it will get better. Once your divorce is finalized you will be able to reevaluate your life and focus on yourself.
Don’t file for divorce without considering alternative possibilities. Seek counseling if you think your marriage can be saved. Divorce has both positive and negative aspects. Remember to keep reasonable expectations, it is unlikely that either party will be completely happy after the court hearing.
If you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse believe that you are capable of coming an agreement on your own, without competing attorneys, you may consider mediation.
A mediator serves as a neutral party. The mediator provides both parties with legal information and facilitates negotiations as you work out the terms of your divorce. Mediation is quicker and less expensive than divorce, it may be the best option for you and your family.