Choosing to end your marriage is a big decision. When I divorced my husband nearly twenty years ago, I knew that I was taking a big step for myself and for my children. What I did not realize was just how far the consequences of the divorce would reach.
Your divorce can continue to affect your daily life for decades after it is finalized. Do not sign any divorce-related documents until you have thoroughly looked over them with your attorney and had him or her explain to you, in plain English, exactly what the details contained within these documents mean. There is a term for the dense language contained within this type of document: legalese. Make sure you work with a certified legalese interpreter (i.e. a divorce lawyer in York) to fully understand everything you sign.
Your divorce settlement should not feel imposing or overbearing. In fact, ending your marriage is supposed to be a healthy step for you and your spouse. It is your opportunity to exit a relationship that has become unstable and unhappy. The way you choose to handle your divorce can have a significant effect on its repercussions and how long they last. Not all divorces are fought out in dramatic courtroom battles. Some as simple as a short agreement between the divorcing parties.
Healthier Ways to Divorce
The mental image that most people have of divorce is one of traditional litigation: the couple and their attorneys in a courtroom, arguing their cases for the judge. Lawyers are expensive, and having to go to court for multiple hearings and meetings between can rack up a huge bill. Sometimes, this is the only option a divorcing couple has.
When a couple has a fairly amicable relationship, they may opt for another type of divorce: collaborative law or mediation. Both of these types of divorce eliminate the need to go to court to finalize the settlement. Couples who choose either of these methods often report better relationships with each other after their divorces and higher levels of satisfaction with their settlements.
With mediation, the couple works with a certified neutral third party to work out the details of their divorce settlement. The mediator meets with the couple and guides them through a discussion of their goals and needs regarding the divorce. Together, they create a settlement that meets these goals and needs. The couple then signs it with their attorneys, who submit it to the court to be finalized.
Couples who choose collaborative divorce eliminate the third party. With this type of divorce, the couple simply agrees to the terms of their settlement, then signs it with their attorneys. This type of divorce is recommended for couples without minor children and without a significant income disparity.
Minimizing the Effects of Divorce on Children
Children feel the effects of divorce. Keep the following tips in mind to help your child through your divorce:
- Maintain your normal schedule. Children are comforted by routine and when everything else in their lives seems to be spiraling out of control, a consistent routine can help your child feel safe and grounded.
- Never talk badly about your former partner to your child. It does not matter why you are divorcing or what your current relationship with your former partner is like. Your child needs to have positive relationships with both of his or her parents.
- Make yourself available for your child. Your child might have questions about your divorce or simply need somebody to talk to. Be there for your child, no matter how busy you become as you work through the divorce process.