Medically Reviewed By: Aaron Horn, LMFT, MA
What is divorce?
Divorce is a formal separation that happens when you break off a marriage. When you get a divorce, there are many things to take into consideration. Not only do you have to cope with your own emotions, but you have to reconcile any issues that relate to the divide of previously shared money, household items, and any other shared responsibilities. There is even more to think about when you and your former partner have kids together.
Going through the divorce process is challenging. When there is child custody, child support, and marital property involved, it becomes even harder. Many times family law is involved to ensure an equal and fair separation of assets. It is a long term process that may include a law firm and many days in a court room. The energy that it takes to work through legal issues and divide marital property, takes a large emotional toll on a person. It's vital that you take care of yourself throughout this process.
Legal issues and divorce
Having children and marital property involved in a divorce can be difficult. Child custody and child support are hard to navigate, but a divorce lawyer can help make sense of the process (for a price). Even with a collaborative divorce, there may be extra steps involved to resolve child custody and child support.
Divorce mediation is one option to resolve issues like child custody. Divorce mediation is when a neutral third party helps resolve the multitude of issues that come along with getting a divorce such as assets and child custody. Divorce mediation is a popular process to address child custody and other issues.
What causes a divorce?
There are many different reasons why a couple may choose to get a divorce. Studies show that it is usually due to small, but long term distancing of the partners. It could be as simple as a lost connection. Maybe both of you have changed as people and the connection simply isn't what it used to be. In other cases, people decide to get a divorce after one partner engages in infidelity or breaches their spouse's trust in another way. Another potential cause of divorce is substance use. Over 19 million people in the United States alone suffer from a substance use disorder, https://americanaddictioncenters.org/rehab-guide/addiction-statistics, and it can put a serious strain on relationships. You could also be in a situation where your partner is in legal trouble due to drugs or alcohol. Every situation is unique, and the cause of divorce will vary from relationship to relationship. Sometimes, you still love the person that you're getting divorced from, and other times, the connection fizzled out long ago. There are circumstances where the love is still there, but divorce remains the best option.
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How to talk to kids about divorce
It's inevitable that you'll have to talk to your children about your divorce. You don't have to go into depth about your grievances. Use child-friendly language when explaining the facts of the situation. Assure your children that even though things are changing, they will be okay and that they are loved. Additionally, make sure that you don't express negative opinions about your spouse when you're talking to your kids about the separation. Even if the relationship ended on a bad note, remember that this person will always be a part of your child's life.
Get help with your divorce
Getting a divorce is a highly emotional experience. If you are thinking about splitting up with your significant other, it might be helpful to get counseling together first. You might try to repair the relationship, or you may pursue divorce counseling to ensure that things go as smoothly as possible. A professional counselor can help you work through everything that comes with divorce and give you emotional support as you go through this difficult time.