Things to know when getting a divorce: 10 Essential Insights | The Smart Divorce

In the quiet corners of her heart, where hope and fear danced an uneasy waltz, Kimberley knew she was standing at the precipice of a life-altering decision. Here is her version of things to know when getting a divorce. The word ‘divorce’ echoed in her mind, a thunderous whisper that threatened to upend the life she had known.

Like many of us, Kimberley had dreams woven into the fabric of her marriage. Dreams of shared laughter, growing old together and watching their children chase the horizon. But those dreams were fading, replaced by a reality that was as harsh as unexpected.

The decision to divorce wasn’t just about ending a marriage. It was about dismantling a shared life, piece by piece. It was about explaining to their children why mommy and daddy couldn’t live under the same roof. It was about navigating the labyrinth of legalities, from dividing assets to determining custody.

But more than anything, it was about Kimberley. It was about her finding the strength within herself to face the storm, to make decisions that would chart the course of her future. It was about her learning to redefine her identity, separate from the ‘we’ she had been a part of for so long.

This is Kimberley’s story, a tale of resilience and courage in the face of change. It’s a story that many of you might relate to, a journey that echoes the struggles and triumphs of countless others who have walked the path of divorce.

And as you read on, remember that every end marks a new beginning, and every decision, no matter how difficult, is a step towards a future that promises hope and healing.

Things to know when Contemplating Divorce

The difficult process of deciding to divorce ranked just after the agony of informing my eldest child about our impending divorce. A week after my youngest’s birth, I discovered devastating facts about my marriage that threatened to upend my life. Fast forward fifteen years, and my life is not just back on track, it’s flourishing beyond expectation. I’m living my dreams.

I still remember the day a week after my third child’s arrival. Attempting to purchase diapers for my newborn, my credit card was declined once again. The embarrassment of returning to my waiting family empty-handed was crushing. Often, there’s a pivotal moment that pushes us to make life changing decisions, and this was mine. It marked the start of a major life change.

Despite my unwavering belief in the sanctity of marriage, I faced an inevitable truth. Having grown up sheltered, the concept of divorce was foreign to me and I was resolved to fight for my marriage, prioritizing my children. However, that fateful day at the store marked the dissolution of trust, communication, and honesty in my marriage.

Navigating the Emotional and Legal Divorce

I found myself tangled in an “emotional divorce”, which caused my “legal divorce” to drag on for a prolonged seven years. The outcome? Legal bills and other divorce-related expenses that could have funded my dream home, and enough therapy to help me reconstruct my life and attain my dreams.

Along the journey, I learned a valuable lesson. Divorce comprises two aspects to navigate: the emotional process and the legal process. Divorce is a highly emotional decision and, if not managed correctly, can disrupt the legal process. It’s ideal if these aspects could be tackled sequentially; first addressing the emotional turmoil, and then proceeding with the legal process with a clear mind. However, reality dictates that emotions and legal proceedings intertwine, and they usually must be handled simultaneously. It requires maturity and determination to do what is right.

The negative effects of divorce?

Divorce, an emotionally charged legal process, can have numerous negative effects. It’s a major life change that can lead to stressful events and emotional turmoil. When contemplating divorce, it’s essential to understand that it’s not only a legal dissolution of a marriage but also a difficult process that can affect every aspect of your life.

Financial instability is one of the most significant negative effects of getting a divorce. The divorce process often involves dividing marital assets and debts, which can be a complex task. Joint bank accounts, investment accounts, and shared accounts need to be split. Financial statements, credit card statements, and other important documents determine who gets what. The divorce cost can also be substantial, especially if the case ends in divorce court. Spousal support, child support, and rent or mortgage costs can add to the financial burden.

Another negative effect of divorce is the impact on children. Child custody and parenting time can be emotionally draining for you and your kids. The prospect of not living under the same roof with both parents can be distressing for children. In domestic or substance abuse cases, the court may decide on sole custody, which can further complicate the emotional process.

What hurts the most about divorce?

The most painful aspect of divorce is often the emotional turmoil it brings. The end of a marriage is a significant life event that can lead to feelings of loss, anger, and sadness. The emotional process of divorce can be as challenging, if not more so, than the legal process.

One of the things that hurt the most is the disruption of the family structure. Dissolving a common law relationship or marriage can be especially hard if children are involved. The thought of not seeing your kids every day or having to discuss child custody and child support with family law attorneys can be heart-wrenching.

Another painful aspect is the loss of shared dreams and plans. You and your soon-to-be ex-spouse may have had many life-changing decisions and plans for the future, which now have to be abandoned or drastically altered. This can lead to a sense of loss and disappointment.

The worst parts of divorce?

The worst parts of divorce often involve the legal and financial aspects. Filing for divorce, hiring a lawyer, and navigating divorce laws can be daunting. The need to gather as much information as possible, from credit card statements to state tax returns, can be overwhelming.

Divining assets and debts can also be one of the worst parts. Deciding who gets the house, the car, personal property, and even smaller items like the water heater can lead to contentious debates. Divining financial assets like savings accounts, retirement accounts, and other financial resources can be complex and controversial.

Another worst part of divorce is the potential for conflict. High levels of anger and resentment can make reaching mutual agreements difficult. Sometimes, a neutral third party, like a divorce mediator, may be needed to help navigate the mediation process.

The narrative I frequently recount is titled: “Reframing Your Mindset for a Better Future: A Divorce Consultant’s Tale”. It’s an account of how my engagement ring transitioned from a symbol of marital love to a testament of self-love. You may think this sounds trite, with yet another divorce consultant trying to market illusions of change.

Seek Support from Family and Friends

Hesitate to Seek Support from Family and Friends. When you entered into your marriage, you nurtured the hope of being part of the percentage that makes it work. However, now you find yourself amidst the process of getting a divorce, questioning where things unraveled. The latest data from Statistics Canada estimates the divorce rate to be approximately 38%. The upside? You’re not going through this difficult process alone. During such stressful events, the support of friends and family is crucial for your emotional recovery.

Embrace the Solitude That Comes With Divorce

Embrace the Solitude That Comes With Divorce. Understandably, feelings of loneliness will surface. Jamaal, 34, reflects, “Given the change in lifestyle, how could one not feel lonely? Many hours previously spent together are now empty, and your once lively house may seem silent.” Engage in new hobbies, spend quality time with friends and family, or seek counseling. More importantly, do not misinterpret your need for human connection as a prompt to dive into another relationship.

Reflect On the Less Favorable Times.

It’s typical to look back fondly at the happier days in your common-law relationship. A recently divorced 34-year-old points out, “We tend to hold onto the positive memories, conveniently brushing the unfavorable ones under the carpet. However, remember that the decision to divorce was not made lightly.” An impending divorce may upend your life, but remember, if your marriage was filled only with joy, you’d still be together.

Sever Ties for Your Well-being.

Transitioning to life post-divorce requires a period of non-contact between you and your soon-to-be-ex partner. Although maintaining a mature, amicable divorce seems ideal, for most people, it might be a far-fetched reality. Unless children are involved, forcing artificial pleasantries may muddy the already turbulent waters of the divorce process.

Acknowledge That You’re Divorcing More Than Your Spouse

Acknowledge That You’re Divorcing More Than Your Spouse. Divorce is not merely the end of a marriage but also the cessation of shared dreams and hopes. Tina, 44, notes, “Divorce not only affects the couple but also hurts people connected to us.” The loss extends to the relationships with your former spouse’s family and friends who were part of your inner circle.

Accept That Divorce Also Means Parting Ways with a Certain Lifestyle

Montreal-based divorce coach Marilyn Rackover advises her clients to familiarize themselves with their family’s financial landscape as a first step in divorce planning. It’s time to establish your financial identity—separate from your spouse’s—including matters like health insurance and other financial accounts previously shared with your spouse.

Ensure Everything Has a Paper Trail

Sarah Bates of The Smart Divorce, urges individuals to treat their divorce case as a business transaction. This involves maintaining a comprehensive record of all legal documents, financial statements, and the divorce papers.

Consult a Good Lawyer for Sound Advice

The guidance of a trusted divorce lawyer is critical during such a significant life change. Family law attorneys can navigate you through the complexities of the divorce laws and ensure your best interests are protected.

Keep the Big Picture in Mind

One woman recounts how her friend obsessed over a trivial item—a potato masher—that her ex-husband took with him. While it’s not about the potato masher, such trivial disputes are often manifestations of the larger emotional process of divorce. Avoid getting bogged down in insignificant decisions.

Recognize Your Strength

By standing on your own, you realize your strength. One 44-year-old divorcee, initially seen as passive, discovered her strength when she made the difficult decision to file for divorce. She reflects, “When I took control of my life, I felt immense pride because I understood I could manage without his help.

Final Thoughts
Navigating the tumultuous waters of a divorce process is a major life change that demands strength, resilience, and a clear understanding of the legal process. As a divorce lawyer would tell you, it’s not just about the dissolution of a marriage but also about the division of marital assets, child custody, and potentially dealing with domestic or substance abuse issues.

The financial implications of a divorce are significant, from splitting joint bank accounts to understanding the impact on rent or mortgage costs. Keeping a clear record of all financial statements and legal documents is essential, as these will form the cornerstone of your divorce case.

Child support and child custody are emotionally charged aspects of any divorce. It’s important to remember that the children’s best interests should always be at the forefront of any decisions made. In cases of domestic or substance abuse, the court may decide on sole custody, which can significantly affect you and your children.

The legal process can be daunting, but with the right divorce lawyer or family law attorneys, you can navigate the divorce laws and protect your rights. Remember, an amicable divorce is the best outcome for all parties involved.

Getting a divorce is not just about the end of a marriage but also about starting a new chapter in your life. It’s about taking control of your financial future, seeking support where needed, and always considering the big picture. It’s about understanding that even though this is a difficult process, you can come out stronger on the other side with the right support team.

Remember, it’s not just about getting through the divorce but also about planning for life after divorce. This might involve opening new bank accounts, adjusting to living separately, and making significant decisions about your personal property and assets.

While a divorce is a challenging and often stressful event, it’s also an opportunity for growth and self-discovery. With the right advice, support, and legal guidance, you can navigate this difficult process and emerge with renewed hope and resilience.


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