Divorce is the last thing you mind the day you walk down the aisle. You think your love will last forever. However, many people end a marriage and go through the emotional and financial toll it takes. When divorcing, it is typical for you to feel alone, empty, lost, desperate, and like your world has been turned upside down.
While everyone goes through the same court process, your journey is diverse. Some are happy to be rid of the toxic relationship, while others mourn the death of great love. Grief is a very real emotion that’s present in other aspects of life besides death.
Ten Divorce Lessons Every Couple Should Know When Ending a Marriage
While divorce is a complicated process, it will teach you many valuable lessons that can extend to other areas of your life. When you’re ending a marriage, these are some things you can take with you from your experiences.
1. Divorce Is Financially Costly
According to Forbes, divorcing in the United States will cost you between $15,000 to $20,000. Of course, this is a contested divorce with children or assets. You can get by much more economically if you do an uncontested dissolution and agree on everything.
Sadly, many people disagree on a thing, so they need the court to make hard decisions for them. Most people don’t spend that much money on their wedding. The thing with divorce is that you must consider things on top of the court costs like alimony, child support, and other obligations the judge orders you to pay. The total cost varies depending on the laws of your state.
So the ballpark figure by Forbes is just for the legal proceedings and lawyer fees. The sticker shock from ending a marriage can only worsen the grief, as some harsh financial realities can be eye-opening.
2. Divorce Stigmas Can Be Harsh
Many people feel that ending a marriage will define them as a person. They feel like no one would want them again. It’s also hard if you have children. That’s because you think no one wants a ready-made family. Thankfully, these beliefs are old school, and blended families are common today.
Divorcing doesn’t mean that either of you is a bad person. You might be great people with a few issues, but you don’t work well together. While oil and water are great alone, they cannot mesh together.
Even if your love didn’t work out with this individual, it doesn’t mean you can’t find the right person and be happy in the future. Don’t buy into the stigmas and let grief power your self-doubts.
3. Holidays Can Be Brutal
You will feel lots of loneliness during the first holidays after a divorce. Sharing the kids and being alone will be an adjustment. Try to fix your schedule so that you have family or friends to be with rather than sitting alone. Also, ensure that the holiday parenting schedule is ironclad so there are no issues that ruin you or your child’s holidays.
4. Healing Takes Time
Realizing your marriage is over can feel like the end of the world. Others may think that divorcing is as wonderful as Christmas morning, especially if their spouse caused them great distress. Regardless of whether you’re happy or sad, you will feel vulnerable.
Your grief makes you a vulnerable person until the healing process is complete. While it’s ironic, if you initiated the ending of your marriage, you may find that it hits you harder than the defendant. You may blame yourself for causing pain to someone you once loved, which can add to your emotional stress.
What you will learn more than anything is that healing is a process that doesn’t happen overnight when divorcing. There are no shortcuts, and you must work through all the intense feelings you experience. Know that it’s okay to get counseling to help you through this time, as going through the court battle and separating might have been the easiest part of the journey.
5. It Pays to Be Kind During a Divorce
No one expects you and your ex to be best friends when divorcing, but you will learn that it pays to be nice. If you can work things out and remain civil, it will help you co-parent your children and get through the whole process.
It may be challenging to be kind when they’ve hurt you so much, but you’re not going to gain anything in this life by being nasty. Let karma work for you, and ensure you do what’s right. Remember that every action will have a consequence. It may not be now, but something you say or do can come back to bite you in the future.
6. You Need to Know the Financial Matters
It’s expected that one person handles paying the bills. However, you both need to have access to accounts. You should know where titles, deeds, and accounts are opened, and you also should know how much money you have combined.
The court needs to know detailed information about your finances, and it’s also helpful to ensure your soon-to-be ex isn’t slipping some money into their pocket without you being any the wiser.
7. It’s Tempting to Engage in Retail Therapy When Divorcing
When you’re emotional from divorcing, your grief can force you to do things you wouldn’t normally do. You have a lot of stress, and you need to find some way to calm the angst you feel. Some folks will go out and buy a car they’ve always wanted, while others will fill their home with useless trinkets of shopping trips they can’t afford.
Compulsive spending is a common problem. According to the National Library of Health, these uncontrollable shopping trips can give you a high like cocaine, opiates, and nicotine because it stimulates dopamine production in the brain. You can become addicted to the euphoric feeling that shopping brings, which isn’t good for your financial well-being.
It’s hard to rationalize your grief and remind yourself that it will take time to heal, but the financial repercussions from poor choices can plague you for years. If you run up debts you can’t pay and must file for bankruptcy, it can impact your credit for seven to ten years. Financial advisors are vital to helping with finances when your emotions are all over the place.
8. Don’t Settle for Any Divorce Lawyer
Many folks are worried about finances when ending a marriage, but you shouldn’t go with the attorney who offers the lowest retainer or hourly rate. You want someone experienced in family law to get you the best deal.
Having the wrong lawyer representing you can be costly. Additionally, having no legal representation is a big mistake–even if divorcing seems open and closed. Good legal counsel can mean everything when you need your case to be done fairly.
9. Divorce Affects the Children More Than You Think
Most parents try to act like nothing is wrong with their children, even though things aren’t going well. However, your kids can read right through this act. Your children can also experience the grief you feel, and you need to look for tell-tale behavioral signs that indicate depression.
Change is never easy, but your children are affected more than what they can verbalize to you. Therapy might be an excellent tool for the whole family as ending a marriage impacts everyone in the home.
10. It’s Not the End of Your Story
Grief is a powerful thing to experience and can send you straight into depression. While you may have closed the chapter on this relationship, divorce doesn’t mean your story is complete. You can and should find love again, as you deserve to be happy.
When you release yourself from the ties of a marriage, you can do whatever you want. You can go where life takes you and make decisions that feel best for you. Sure, there are some uncertainties, but there are also many choices you never had before. Divorcing the wrong person can empower you to find the right one, and if you have co-dependency issues and other problems, you can finally break free.