No couple starts out thinking they will ever have to go through a divorce, but unfortunately not all love stories have happy endings. If it’s time to end your marriage and file for divorce in Pennsylvania, know you aren’t the first and you certainly won’t be the last couple to go through this process. Learn from the triumphs and tribulations of thousands of people before you who have had to go through a divorce so that you can make the process as quick and painless as possible.
Keep these five things in mind during the dissolution of your marriage:
1. There is No “Winner” in Divorce
A lot of couples go into the divorce process expecting to come out as either a “winner” or a “loser.” The winner might get certain assets or custody of children, while the loser does not. This framework is false and will only serve to increase tensions between you and your spouse. Divorce is not a competition. Do not expect to “win” – rarely does one spouse get everything he or she wants in a divorce. It is a compromise between two parties who can no longer live together as a married couple. Consider the costs and consequences of a major legal battle before you pin yourself against your spouse.
2. Don’t Make Impulsive Decisions
You and your spouse may have tried for months or years to reconcile your differences before coming to the conclusion that divorce is the best route. Take the same time to weigh and measure all aspects of your divorce case. Each decision you make can have long-term consequences. Who keeps the house, how you split child custody, whether you need alimony payments – these are all important questions you and your spouse should take time considering. Don’t get angry and sell the family home or move to a different county – think your decisions through, even in the heat of a nasty divorce.
3. Divorce is an Adult Problem
Don’t make your divorce the topic of conversation at the dinner table or over the phone while your kids are in the room. This will only serve to make their experience of the situation worse. Never badmouth your spouse in front of your children or make them “pick a side.” It’s easy to forget that these things can have lasting effects for children. The more parents fight in front of children during a divorce, the more damaging the experience is to them. Put your children’s well-being before everything else in a divorce.
4. There Are Alternatives to Court
Divorce court is not a pleasant experience for most. Escalating costs, public fights, and your future in the hands of a judge can all end badly for both parties. Instead of threatening to take your spouse to court right away, consider alternatives. Mediation is an attractive option for many couples because is a “collaborative divorce.” Weigh all your options before jumping straight into a court case.
5. Trust Professional Help
Family and friends may be quick to offer their two cents as soon as you announce your divorce. Even with the best of intentions, advice from others may do more harm than good. Don’t base your divorce decisions on someone else’s experiences. Your divorce is unique and may look nothing like your friend’s. The wrong advice or information can make you dig yourself into a hole. Instead, trust legal professionals, mental health counselors, and financial consultants with your divorce process.