Are you filing for divorce, but don’t have an attorney?

Do you think your divorce is going to be amicable or contested?

Do you enjoy amusement parks? Are you an adrenaline junkie who loves the rush of going on roller coasters that have steep drops and loops? If so, you just might enjoy a litigated divorce.

All Aboard!

I always compare the process of getting divorced to a roller coaster; you will have your shares of ups and downs. Getting divorced, especially if it’s a contested divorce, is not for the faint of heart.

Filing for divorce is the first official step of the process. The court has no idea you even exist until someone files a Complaint for divorce at the courthouse. This is the biggest reason why it’s often advantageous to file the Complaint as the last thing in the divorce process and negotiate everything else first. But, I get into that in another article.

Nobody knows your marriage better than you and your spouse. Why?

Because you lived it!

Your family and friends experienced it vicariously through you, but only you know what it was really like 24/7. That’s why the decision to get divorced is yours (or your spouses) and is probably one of the most personal choices you will make during your lifetime.

Did You Put In The Work?

Marriage is not easy. We hear it all the time from therapist and coaches. That doesn’t mean marriage isn’t worth it and it doesn’t mean that you should run to get divorced because you are in a tough patch of your marriage. Remember those vows…for better or worse?

The fact is, marriage takes work. But, what doesn’t in life? Maintaining friendships takes work. I can’t tell you how many friends I have lost contact with because one of us doesn’t put in the time to make a phone call or send an email once in a while. I have adopted the policy that I will not chase anyone anymore. If they don’t have time for me, I don’t have time for them. But, I digress.

Getting out of bed in the morning takes work. Holding down a job takes work.

Putting together a desk from IKEA takes work. Life is work!

Whenever someone comes to me to consult about getting divorced, I spend some time discussing the events that lead him or her to me. I’m not that attorney who doesn’t care and offers a retainer agreement to sign, ready to draft the Complaint as soon as the client leaves the office. (Some do that)

The reasons you may want a divorce are important to me. Why? Because don’t want to see you get divorced if there is a chance the marriage can be reconciled. You got married to be happy and I want you to be happy…if it’s possible with your spouse.

Sometimes, it doesn’t matter. For example, whenever there is domestic violence, I don’t encourage the victim to try and reconcile. That’s a whole different ballgame.

My point is that divorce is emotionally taxing and can be very expensive if you and your spouse want to fight about everything. Assuming there aren’t other red flags, I always like to see couples try counseling before throwing in the marriage towel.

No marriage is perfect, but that doesn’t mean filing for divorce is the solution.

How Do Children Factor Into The Divorce Process?

Children make the divorce process easier. Did you have to read that again? I just wanted to see if you were actually paying attention. Children complicate everything when it comes to divorce. You’re taking one household and splitting it up into two. That means you and your spouse have to share the children.

That’s not an easy thing to adjust to or accept for a lot of people. Your entire lifestyle changes in a divorce and parenting time disputes and arguments over custody are what often prolong the divorce process and ramp up the costs. For example, in New Jersey, a typical custody evaluation (where an “expert” evaluates you and the kids and writes a report making custody and parenting recommendations) can easily cost $10,000.

What if each party wants his/her own expert…you get the point? I’ve heard mothers and fathers tell me that they stay in a bad marriage “for the kids.” They don’t want to disrupt their lives and are willing to sacrifice their own happiness for their children. I don’t buy that thinking. Children are smart and perceptive. They see right through that. Staying in a bad and/or abusive marriage isn’t a good model for children either.

Divorce Is Not Like Going To The Movies

My point for this article is that divorce is a serious thing. Sometimes, I feel like people treat the decision to get divorced the same as choosing what movie to see. Too many people give up in their marriages without putting in the work to see if there is any chance of making it work. We live in a time where technology has conditioned us to want instant gratification and results. Marriage just doesn’t work that way.

Filing for divorce may be the right result for you, but put in the work and really think about whether that is a train ride you want to take. Once you start the process, things can snowball quickly and you can be thrown down a path of emotional trauma and high expense, past the point of reconciling the relationship.

Going through a divorce may just be the ultimate roller coaster of life.

Just make sure you are prepared for the ride.

Jason

If you want to get some clarity on how to prepare to file for divorce, download this FREE divorce checklist now by clicking on the button below.

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PS. As always, be strong, act confident and stay positive!

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