3 Things Every Spouse Should Know About Divorce
It’s very easy for those considering a divorce, or even in the midst of the divorce process, to have unreasonable expectations about the outcome and the impact it will have on all parties involved. Divorces are rarely, if ever, simple and cordial affairs. Most often they are long, messy, expensive, and emotionally draining for both spouses.
However, some of that difficulty can be mitigated by understanding up front what to expect of the divorce process and what it means to each spouse and those around them, including their children.
Here are three things every spouse should keep in mind about a divorce before going through the process.
One: No One “Wins” A Divorce
The pain of a divorce often manifests itself during the actual divorce process as one or both spouses trying to “win” the divorce. That idea of winning might mean keeping certain property, retaining child custody rights, financial commitments, or all of the above. It’s very common for the process to get bogged down because either or both spouses believe they’re not winning.
The truth is, no one wins a divorce. Though it may feel like it at times, a divorce is not a battle. It’s a negotiation between two parties that must be navigated under extreme emotional circumstances, which is obviously difficult.
Child custody, alimony, and division of property are all negotiations, despite any claims to the contrary by spouses or lawyers involved. As hard as it may be, the less emotion each spouse brings to the table, the easier and faster the process will go.
Two: Your Children Are Not Getting Divorced, You Are.
Navigating all the issues around children and child custody during a divorce are some of the most difficult challenges divorcing parents will face. The most crucial thing to keep in mind however, is that the children are not divorcing either or both parents. In other words, the children will still have two parents after the divorce, and they shouldn’t feel like they’re losing one.
Sadly, it’s all too common for children to become weapons and/or bargaining chips in the divorce process. If that sounds horrible, it is. Unless there’s a history of abuse or neglect, your children will continue to have a relationship with both parents. No matter how upset spouses are with each other, they should not try to discourage or interfere with a healthy parent-child bond.
Three: Honesty Is Always The Best Policy
In California, divorcing spouses must voluntarily disclose complete information and documents regarding their income, expenses, assets and debts. In addition, the law requires spouses to update that information as new facts come to light.
Judges take these laws very seriously, and you don’t want to be the one who gets caught trying to pull a fast one past the judge or opposing attorney. It will not end well.
As an example, a wife once filed for divorce and hid the fact that she won $1.5 million in the California Lottery. Her husband found out and informed the judge about the concealment. The court awarded all–not just half–of the lottery winnings to the husband.
The moral of that story is: don’t lie to your spouse, to your attorney, and definitely don’t lie to the judge in your divorce proceedings.
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