Divorce is an unfortunate reality for many relationships. In some cases, a divorce can actually be more traumatic than the sudden death of a spouse. Even when it has become clear that a permanent separation is the best possible option for both parties, the sudden loss of a confidant, friend, and lover can be almost too much to bear. When a divorce is contentious, the situation becomes even more challenging. If children are involved, things can get exponentially worse.
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.
Domestic violence is something that can't be ignored when we talk about relationship issues. If you are the victim of domestic violence, your safety is the most important thing. Reach out for help immediately. You can reach the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
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.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What are the first signs of divorce?
The issue of marriage and divorce is one of the most widely discussed topics, especially in the 20th century. The truth is, a marriage usually does not just take a zoom from “till death do us part” to “we’re getting a divorce’ without some nagging red flags in between. Most times, the signs are always there but most married couples either do not recognize them, or didn’t act on them promptly enough, until they get to the point of irretrievable breakdown. Although, every marriage- including happy ones- has its own ups and downs, however, when bumps and issues are becoming too big or too frequent, there may be a deeper problem the husband and wife need to take a much closer look into.
Don't be more concerned about cramming the divorce act or proving the challenges in your marriage is your partner's fault, divorce may happen that way, faster than you think. Every marriage comes with its own challenges and ups and downs, and partners must always try to work at solving these issues head-on, because if all you do is nag about how the problem you're encountering is all your partner's fault, divorce may be looming. It is in the best interests of everyone that marital challenges be tackled early before they get to the point of irretrievable breakdown. Sometimes, melodramas occur during divorce proceedings in family law courts- where married couples are making the legal separation whilst still caught up in the drama of their relationship. Though they are physically apart, they aren’t yet emotionally separated.
So how does one know if they are in a troubled marriage and divorce is knocking? Here are a few of the early warning signs that show that it may be time to get some help for your marriage relationship:
What are the five stages of divorce?
In severity of stress, divorce act and divorce itself ranks just above death and usually accompanied with other stressors like marital discord, loss of property and debts, one party becoming a single parent, litigation, serious financial issues, a move, multiple losses, all happening at the same time. Divorce is always a stressful process for both the husband and wife, although both parties may experience the stages at different times and in different ways. The five stages of divorce according to divorce act are Application for the Divorce (Divorce Petition), Acknowledgment of Service, Certificate of Entitlement, Decree Nisi, and Decree Absolute. Usually, each process has to end before the next can begin. It is important to have an expert at family law, divorce or related field walk through this phase with you to guide you and also ensure that your civil rights are not infringed upon.
What is the most common reason for divorce?
Although It is not uncommon to see partners who are undergoing counseling easily point fingers and talk about how the problems in the marriage is the other person's fault, divorce isn't something that just suddenly happens. Though the reasons for divorce may vary, the majority of divorce cases are traced to money problems, and in fact, some studies suggest that the number one cause of divorce is a money problem. Money and bills (health insurance) can cause a lot of stress, and lack of money or a gap in how much money each person contributes to the marriage can lead to imbalances or power struggles in the marriage relationship, and this may cause irreconcilable differences and even lead to breakdown of the marriage.
Money- rankings vary from study to study, but the most common causes of divorce in domestic partnerships is centered on money issues. Money-related issues can affect either partner. No matter how much money one has, money remains a primary connector. Money could wreck relationships in several ways; Spouses who spend recklessly may run into debts without their partner’s knowledge. So, while a partner is building up savings, the other could be tearing down. Also, people have long-term financial goals, but a partner who wants to “live only in the moment” will rather not put some money away. Money could be important to such an extent that health insurance and other financial setbacks may set in if you don’t have it. Setbacks consequently put the family under a financial strain, causing stress and lack of trust leading to separation or divorce. A good way to approach such issues before considering legal separation is by creating a budget and long-term goals. Again, it may help to constantly communicate financial interests, especially during challenging times
Lack of intimacy- overtime, a domestic partnership gets beyond physical contact. This phase is deeper, more rooted, and it’s totally natural. Sex remains an integral part of every marriage, and it builds on intimacy. However, marriage is more than just sex. According to a Newsweek magazine study, 15 to 20 percent of couples are in a sexless relationship. Creating and maintaining intimacy with a partner does not mean an absence of physical contact. It is in the small acts, like daily kisses, hugs, holding hands, back rubs, etc. sometimes, a phone call works too since intimacy is about paying attention to the other person. When the little acts go away, the relationship grows cold, and partners may feel rejected.
Infidelity- a lot of divorce may be the result of infidelity, but research surprisingly shows that a large number of married couples deal with infidelity issues. These partners also find a way to stay together, but the reality is, infidelity could change a lot of basic stuff in the marriage. It erodes trust and, ultimately, communication.
Lack of Compatibility- people, nurse the idea of marriage with a partner they feel they clicked with. That is, they wanted to spend the rest of their life with them, putting aside differences in opinions and interests. However, marriage is not always a blissful relationship because people tend to change as they grow. Habits and interests change too, and as people evolve, their views become more modified, thus impacting their relationships. In a marriage where change is not welcomed and celebrated, filing for divorce may be inevitable. This lack of compatibility that grows as a result of change may lead to arguments and, in some cases, distance. Distance could make a person unhappy, hence, leading to legal separation.
Getting married for the wrong reasons- people who have unreasonable expectations from their partners may wind up disappointed in marriage. Such persons realize that imaginations do not match up to reality, thus giving them grounds for divorce. Living with someone in marriage indeed takes work but putting pressure on your spouse to make things work may put things on the rocks.
Lack of equality and Identity- people may fault divorces for several things, but an ideal marriage is easier with words. If you’re in a relationship that does not give you room to flourish, then you may gradually lose yourself. Spending quality time together is great, giving room to people to explore their own identities and interests is even better. When these issues are not resolved, it affects children, and parents’ divorce makes it harder. These challenges reflect in how some partners think children should be brought up and what decisions they should make. Some parents also want to manage (control) what goes on in a child’s life, thus driving the entire family apart.
What is divorce in simple words?
According to Wikipedia, divorce is the termination of a marriage or marital union between a husband and wife. Also known as dissolution of marriage, it usually entails canceling or reorganizing legal duties and responsibilities of marriage, and dissolving the bonds of marriage between the husband and wife under the family law that obtains in the particular country or state. Although divorce law, divorce act, family law, and family court proceedings vary considerably around the world, divorce in most countries and states require the sanction of a family court, supreme court, or any other authority in a legal process, which may involve cases of distribution of property, alimony (spousal support), child support, child visitation/access, parenting plan/time, child custody, residency requirements, parental conflict, and division of debt. Some of the types of divorce include contested divorce, at-fault divorce, summary divorce, no-fault divorce, uncontested divorce, collaborative divorce, electronic divorce and mediated divorce.
If you are going through a turbulent period in your marriage and divorce seems to be looming, you need to reach out and seek help for your marriage. Don’t file for divorce or do your research on the divorce act just yet. Regardless of what problems your marriage may be facing, it doesn’t necessarily have to mark the end of the marriage and divorce is not always the only way out. And even if divorce has to happen or has happened, the team of professional marriage and divorce counselors at ReGain are always on standby to help you through counseling sessions, give you good understanding of marriage and divorce laws, help you to know if your marriage is redeemable, and even if not, would help you through the phase of healing, because whether it is your fault the divorce happened or not, you can heal, move on with your life and even find love again.
How do you know it's time for a divorce?
You hide your true self. If you’re at a point where you feel like your spouse rejects you, then there may be trouble.
Kids, work, and friends over you. Marriage is primarily two people coming together. While this may not remain so forever, when a partner begins to rate work, friends, and even their kids above the other spouse, it could take a toll on the marriage.
“I” not “We.” Aside from the fact that this exudes pride and selfishness, this mentality could negatively impact spouses. Marriage is teamwork; therefore, when the team work is out of play, the marriage may be nearing a stop. The words of expression used in marriage show how you feel about your spouse.
No longer your “go-to” person. When you can’t think of calling your spouse first when something comes up, it could be a sign. Your partner is naturally someone you want to share everything with. When either of you stops sharing with the other person, there is a disconnection. Disconnection could cause loneliness, one of the solid grounds for divorce.
You have an exit plan. Moving money to different accounts? Seeking new job openings for independence. When these come into play, your marriage may no longer be of importance to you.
There’s a vast difference in your need for sexual intimacy. This may not come as a surprise, so a lack of regular sexual intimacy is a bad sign.
If you begin to experience or notice any of the signs mentioned above, or if you find that you can picture life without your partner, and this thought comes with no associated negative feelings, or if you both can't stand one another or can't rectify issues amiably without dishing out faults, divorce may be in the cards soon. Also, if you continually feel indifferent towards your partner, or your partner treats you badly or disrespectfully, or there has been a prolonged case of addiction, abuse or sexual infidelity, and most especially, if one or neither of you wants to go for counseling even when it is obvious your marriage needs help, these may be pointers that divorce is looming. However, mastering the divorce act is not the next step.
Before you conclude on taking a divorce, however, make sure to speak to a counselor or divorce solicitor to explain divorce laws to you. This will help you to gain a better understanding of how these divorce laws can work for you and not against you, and also make informed decisions.
Why is divorce so painful?
One of the most traumatizing experiences one can go through in life is divorce. Romantic relationships usually start on a high note of excitement and hopes for the future. When the relationship fails and gets to the point where family court order has been served for divorce, there is the feeling of profound stress and grief that sets in. Regardless of the reason for the split- whether it is uncontested divorce or not, the breakup of a marriage relationship can turn one’s whole world upside down, as well as trigger all manner of unsettling and painful emotions.
Even when a relationship has challenges or is no longer good, breakup or divorce cases can be an extremely painful experience because it represents loss, not just of the partnership, but of dreams, memories and commitments that you have shared with this person. Not only are you separated from the one you thought you would share the rest of your life with, you may have even become a single parent. It is normal to sometimes even think that it is your fault divorce happened, or having some many 'what ifs.' A breakup or divorce launches you into uncharted territory and disrupts basically everything- your home, your routine, your emotions, your responsibilities, your relationship with extended family and friends, and even your identity.
The effect of divorce is always heavy on all involved, including -if not especially- the children, if any. Although, in divorce cases, people tend to pay more attention to the husband and wife involved, not considering how the breakdown of the marriage and divorce also affects the children, especially emotionally. The parental conflicts, the arguments and tussle about where the child lives (i.e., physical custody), and all the process of the legal separation takes a toll on the children too. The pain, uncertainties, and disruptions that come with divorce or breakup can be quite difficult and may take time to get over. It is, however, important to keep reminding yourself that you can and will get through this difficult season and even move on with renewed sense of optimism and sense of hope for the future.
Is there life after divorce?
When your marriage relationship comes to a halt and legal separation or divorce happens, it is always very hard to get used to the solo life- due to divorce being alone and no longer having that person you once loved and planned to share the rest of your life with, with you. That point of irretrievable breakdown of the marriage can be very tough, lonely, depressing, and can leave you financially strapped and wondering what would become of your life now. You may even feel like your whole life is turned upside down and you may never get through this, but please note that there is life after divorce. The chaos won’t last forever- they are short term circumstances and they will pass.
Grieve if you must; post-divorce, it is natural to mourn the life and relationship you have lost – even if you wanted the split or if it is even your fault divorce happened. However, allow yourself to heal and move on with your life. It will take time- some believe it usually takes about two years after divorce to feel normal again. During this time, it is also important to get basic information and understanding of divorce laws and how it affects you. To learn more about divorce laws, you may need to talk to a professional in divorce law to put you through on how these divorce laws work.
Also, invest in rebuilding yourself, fall in love with yourself, hang out with and make new friends, improve yourself, and learn new things by taking classes on your points of interest, and maybe, you just may find love again, and a lasting one this time. It is also important that you forgive yourself and your partner for what has happened- it is in everyone’s best interests that forgiveness and healing takes place. You may also need to seek psychological and professional help for yourself post-divorce and your children, as divorce affects them as much as it does you. Parental conflicts and divorce always go a long way in affecting a child’s mindset about marriage and so it is in the best interests of the child that you seek help for them as well.
What is the final stage of a divorce?
The final stage of divorce according to divorce act is decree absolute and once pronounced, usually means that a marriage has ended. The divorce act explains that you can only apply for Decree Absolute at the Court following a wait of 6-week and a day after your decree Nisi is pronounced. Although Decree Absolute usually brings the marriage to an end, it is best not to apply for it until any ongoing financial proceedings have been completed. If you haven’t started one yet, you may need to speak to talk to a divorce solicitor to explain how divorce law works, help review your civil rights, and/or guide your decision as to whether this is something you should consider before you apply or sign the divorce forms. Although the divorce proceedings or process is generally the same for most people, the length of time it takes may vary dramatically. This depends on the divorce law, divorce act, and a number of other factors like if it is an uncontested divorce, or how long supreme court or the regional divorce court takes to administer the divorce, or how quickly the divorce papers are completed are returned.
At what age is divorce most common?
According to divorce rates and divorce statistics, the average age that is most common for married couples going through their first divorce is 30years, and 60% of all divorces includes individuals who are aged 25-39.
What year of marriage is divorce most common?
Although there are numerous studies on divorce and some conflicting statistics, these data uniformly points out two periods in a marriage during which divorces are most common- years 1-2, and years 5-8. Of these two high-risk periods, two years stand out particularly as the most common years for divorce in marriage- years 7 and 8. It is commonly believed that the husband and wife may experience a declining interest in a monogamous relationship after they go through their 7th year in marriage and the tendency to take on legal separation is high- although this is certainly still up for debate.
How many years into marriage is divorce most common?"
Studies and research shows that marriages that fail (roughly about 10%) will most likely do that within the first two years, or their years 7-8.
Going through a troubled marriage and divorce especially can be a very tough experience, and can drastically turn your life around. So many questions go through your mind, and you may even begin to believe it is your fault the divorce happened even when this is not the case. You may have difficulty moving past the trauma and the effect the divorce law process may have on you.
Do people regret divorce?
The American Psychologists Association says that in terms of divorce rates and divorce statistics, about 40 to 50% of marriages in the US end up in divorce. However, the American Psychologists Association, encourages and advocates for healthy divorce processes when individuals file for divorce as a result of unresolved parental conflict or other issues, especially as it can be a very difficult period, most importantly when kids are involved. The effects of divorce can be overwhelming on both partners and children if not properly handled. Even couples who are filing for divorce according to the right processes still find themselves dealing with the effects of divorce. Divorce or separation can have long lasting effects on children. Divorce can be a difficult experience for children, especially those who are very young and love their parents equally. Collaborative divorce processes are essential for the both couples to negotiate their terms of divorce.
Despite the seamless processes of collaborative divorce, many couples still discover that they regret taking such a step in the first place. While divorce rates and divorce statistics continue to be studied, the number of divorces involving different couples continue to show that couples tend to have some sort of regrets when it comes to separation or divorces. Divorce settlements may have just been the surface of a journey that they were not ready and prepared for and given a second chance, they may have been patient and chosen a different path, considering how children, finances and happiness could be affected. Marriage and divorce statistics cary. 800 participants in a study conducted in 2016 in the UK revealed that 42 percent were reconsidering and giving a second thought to their decision to divorce. Marriages can come with different baggage and could sometimes be stressful and lack peace, however, not all marriages should lead to divorce if carefully considered. Divorce faults could be from both partners and sometimes when these issues are not addressed as a result of lack of communication even with a collaborative divorce process. Here are some of the reasons people regret their divorce.
How should a woman prepare for a divorce?
Family law comprises of adoption, child support, child custody divorce etc. Divorce family law has to do with a family law lawyer that specializes in divorce. As marriage and divorce statistics continue to increase, it is important for women who seem negatively impacted by the effects of divorce, to prepare accordingly. Marriage and divorce statistics vary from state to state. Divorce between couples however, continue to leave women at the receiving end of financial constraint and child welfare. The national survey of family growth, whose aim is to study and understand trends related to family structure, fertility and demographics in the United States, also puts the probability of disruption of the first marriage among women as those in the 15 – 44 years age bracket. While these divorce rates and age ranges vary depending on different factors, irrespective of collaborative divorce or grounds for divorce, the divorce statistics and number of divorces continue to be observed. A woman preparing for divorce should do the following;
How do you decide if it's time for a divorce?
National marriage and divorce rate trends show that while marriage in the United states stands at 6.5 per 1000 people in the total population, the divorce rate is 2.9 per 1000 people in the total population. While these numbers may not paint a full picture, there are some factors you must not miss when it comes to divorce. There are signs that give confirmation that the time to divorce is fast approaching. The grounds for divorce may differ from family to family. While the case may not necessarily apply to those in domestic partnership even though there are legal implications, some of the signs that it may be time to divorce are;
What is the first step in leaving your husband?
Staying together is important for all families and children, either nuclear or extended family members. However, sometimes it can get to a point where both parties realize they have to part ways. Collaborative divorce would mean both partners will agree on their terms of divorce instead of causing a larger issue as they both look towards the end of the marriage.
The first step is you deciding it is time to leave. You may contemplate because you do not want to add to the statistics and divorce rates. The divorce rates do not matter as long as you are sure of your decision. It is also important that you talk to your partner about it. While many individuals consider making the announcement to their spouse through the divorce attorney, this may not be a good move. Talk to your spouse about it, it does not matter if they understand you. While they may even try to convince you to reconsider and think of the divorce rate and why you do not need to add to it, make sure that you stay firm in your decision and start making and mapping your exit plan to cover living expenses and accommodation and ensure you do not depend on spousal support.