When parents are in the process of navigating a divorce, it is a time of high stress and emotion for everyone involved, including the children.

The average cost of a divorce in the US can vary dramatically based on the location of the parents, the terms on which the marriage ended, and the assets involved.

 

What are Grounds for Divorce?

When filing for divorce, spouses have the option to select a fault or no-fault divorce. A no-fault divorce indicates that there was no wrongdoing or blame to place, and it is instead that the partnership did not suit both people. A fault divorce can be due to many different reasons, but at the core, it means that one person was the root cause of the separation. A fault divorce could be caused by adultery, cruelty, or abandonment, among others.

 

What to Expect

Getting a divorce is certainly not as simple as saying that two people no longer want to be married. Depending on the state of residence, the process of divorce can look entirely different. When children are involved, couples also consider the consequences that their actions will have on them.

Waiting periods are often imposed to ensure that the decision made is one with which both people are satisfied and not one made in the heat of the moment. Some states require a mandatory separation periods where spouses must live separately before getting a divorce. The terms of legal separation differ in each state, and while there may be some financial benefits to this period prior to a divorce, there are still legal ties between the spouses that affect their lives.

A divorce can be denied in some scenarios, while often only temporarily, it is important to understand the laws in your state to avoid any mishaps that may prolong the process.

 

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Dividing Assets

There is no hard-and-fast formula that determines what each person is entitled to receive in a divorce. The division of assets depends on the length of the marriage, reasons surrounding the end of the marriage, the spouse's ages, whether there are children involved, and other considerations.  Common marital assets and liabilities include:

  • The primary residence of the couple
  • Vacation residences or rentals
  • Cars
  • Cash
  • Bank Accounts
  • Stocks and bonds
  • Life insurance

More than the separation of the assets in the marriage, some divorces will include alimony or child support payments to allow both spouses (and any children involved) to continue a similar standard of living. Neither of these payments are required but can be considered by the lawyers, mediators, and judges involved.

 

Children and Divorce

Studies from Psychology today have stated that the memory of being informed about divorce sticks with children. The way parents tell their children about divorce can shape the child's perception of the separation, as well as influence their relationships in the future. Spouses should have a candid conversation with each other to get on the same page about what they want to tell the children.

Talking Parents recommends being mature and patient. Allowing children to slowly come to come to terms with their new 'normal' slowly Be prepared for many emotions and in-depth discussions about how a divorce will affect the children in the short and long term.

This list of books about divorce may be a good way to continue to educate children, as well as normalize a difficult transition.

 

Communicating with an Ex

Co-parenting begins far before a divorce is final. Creating open lines of communication is vital to set a positive tone towards a lifetime of collaboration.

In some cases, communication is extremely strained for divorcing partners. Communication services, such as Talking Parents, are a way to create unalterable records of conversations between each person. Not only does this allow lawyers and judges to view the records with printable transcripts, but Talking Parents also helps to keep each parent accountable for their words.

These lines of communication can help both spouses determine if the children are in distress or how to create a parenting plan.

 

Additional Considerations

While divorce is a hard time for families, there are many repercussions that parents may not immediately consider.

  • Credit Score: A divorce can affect credit by reducing the income of each household, creating additional expenses through lawyer fees, and through the neglect of joint debt. Consult financial advisers and request a copy of your credit report to keep track of all joint accounts that need to be altered.
  • Relocation: When children are involved, leaving a marriage is not as simple as packing a bag. Understanding if they can leave the county or the state will affect all the decisions the ex-spouses make.

 

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New Beginnings

Adjusting to life after divorce is a process that will take years and includes learning to accept financial, physical, and mental challenges that may occur. Divorce may signal the end of a marriage, but it also marks the beginning of a new chapter for a family. Divorcing spouses should consult family law and mental health professionals to build a team of experts that can help guide them through the process.