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Contemplating Divorce

You are not alone. Over 55% of first-time marriages in the United States result in divorce and over 70% of second-time marriages also end in divorce.

Since you are contemplating divorce it is very important that your get a good understanding of what you may experience. You do not want to be unprepared or uneducated before making this life changing decision. This section of our website is devoted to giving you some brief thoughts and facts on the initial aspects of a divorce.

Please keep in mind that the more amicable your relationship is prior to and/or during your divorce the more likely you will lessen the emotional and financial burdens caused by ending your marriage.

If this is the second time you have been through the divorce process, you should be able to draw on your past experiences from the first go around. The level of stress, in the majority of cases, suffered on the second time around is not nearly as great as the first.

All marriages have good and bad times. Marriage is an emotional roller coaster and this is a reality of all relationships. But, by becoming married you assume these conditions and those responsibilities that go with it. Wedding vows state for better for worse, for richer for poor ... Unfortunately, there are many individuals, in those times of bad, who decide to jump ship and abandon the relationship. The bottom line is, they do not want or desire to ride in rough seas.

Is there hope for your marriage? Yes. Every marriage has hope! Do you really despise your spouse that much that you want a divorce? If you want to give it another shot, then take a good look at yourself, your spouse and your marriage and try to figure out exactly what is wrong. Is it financial pressure? Or is it a number of minor problems that seem to be adding up? There are many steps you can take to improve your marriage, but you need to stop, evaluate, and take a strong look at the problems that exist. Once your problems are identified address them slowly one by one.

What you need to know:
  • Counseling Before You Divorce: If you have children, especially small children, take an extra deep look into what is wrong with your marriage. Children deserve this extra look and every last option there is to keep a marriage alive. Sometimes a good marriage counselor and a couple of sessions can get you on the path to strengthening your marriage.
  • Common Marriage Problems: Maybe the problem with your marriage lies specifically with you. Do you prefer to be at your job?, the bar?, or with your friends? This is a huge problem for any relationship, especially if you have children. Children grow up fast and need and deserve two parents.
  • Bankruptcy Caused by Divorce: Federal bankruptcy courts are filled with people who's financial difficulties are directly caused by a divorce. Surviving a divorce financially is no easy task.
  • Tax Issues: The personal income tax rate is classified under single, married filing separate, and married. Single individuals pay more in taxes than married couples. This is a popular reason couples stay separated for years and lead other lives before getting a divorce.
  • Seeking Support: There are four types of support resources you may rely on during this stressful period; family, friends, professionals, and support groups. Of these four options, your family will most likely be your best.
  • Getting Back Together: Many marriages have survived the beginnings of a ruthless confrontation. The thought of divorce can strengthen the marital bond. Many spouses discover the depth of their love and commitment during the divorce process.

Separations:
  • Introduction to Separations: Sometimes when people talk about marriage and divorce, the term separation becomes loosely used. People use the terms trial separation, permanent separation and legal separation without fully understanding that each describes a different segment in the trajectory from marriage to divorce.
  • Trial Separations: A trial separation happens when a couple lives apart trying to decide whether to reconcile or divorce. Very often couples that cannot get along decide to live apart for a time to clear the air.
  • Permanent Separations: A permanent separation is a separation, normally in preparation for a divorce. For many divorcing couples, a permanent separation is the roll down the runway toward the takeoff of life as a single people.
  • Legal Separations: A legal separation, which is sometimes called separate support or separate maintenance, is a lawsuit for support while the spouses are living separating and apart.

Legal Separation by State
Alabama
Alaska
Arizona
Arkansas
California
Colorado
Connecticut
Delaware
D. of Columbia
Florida
Georgia
Hawaii
Idaho
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Maine
Maryland
Massachusetts
Michigan
Minnesota
Mississippi
Missouri
Montana
Nebraska
Nevada
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
Ohio
Oklahoma
Oregon
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
Tennessee
Texas
Utah
Vermont
Virginia
Washington
West Virginia
Wisconsin
Wyoming

Types of Divorce:
  • High Conflict Versus Low-Conflict Divorce: The liberalization of divorce in the 1970s made divorce a fact of life for most Americans. About 1.25 million marriages end in divorce annually, and over a million children under 18 become the children of a broken family.
  • Most Marriages and Divorces Are Low Conflict: Most marriages that end in divorce are low conflict, although the estimates vary depending upon the source. Some researchers estimate that 15 to 30 percent of the marriages that end are high conflict, and the rest end in low-conflict divorce.
  • Staying Together for the Children: Until the liberalization of divorce that began in the 1970s, many middle class parents in unhappy marriages stayed married "for the sake of the children." These parents endured their unsatisfactory marriages until the children grew up. Many considered this endurance the responsible course of action.
  • The "Good" Divorce: In the aftermath of the liberalization of divorce, the idea of the "good" divorce became current. In this regime of thinking, the divorce itself became subordinate to the manner in which the parents went about doing it.
  • Long-Term Effects of Divorce Disputed: As mentioned, the short-term and long-term effects of divorce on children are disputed.
  • Points to Remember About Divorce: Research on the left and right suggests one of the most important factors in determining the success of the divorce - that is, the degree to which the former spouses can cooperate and co-parent effectively - is the behavior of the former partners.

The Cost of Divorce:

How much does it actually cost to get a divorce? A lot more than you may think! Most people forget to include a number of factors in this equation. One such aspect is given low priority or concern. This aspect deals with the expenses of running two households. If you're wealthy, this may not be a big issue. If you are very poor, this too may not apply. But if you are like most Americans living in the middle-income bracket, you must consider this financial picture before you depart.

  • Divorcing with Children: If you have children and decide to move out of your home, you need to consider the cost of two homes. In the beginning of your divorce, you and/or your spouse will be faced with many extra living expenses which will make it difficult to live the lifestyle you are accustomed to.
  • Everyday Expenses: Some households split the financial responsibilities, especially when both are employed. Many times one partner pays for items associated with the house including mortgage, utilities, and food.
  • Attorney & Professional Fees: If you are the sole provider or breadwinner of the marriage, you will probably get stuck with paying the attorney fees for you and your spouse. The concept is you are the one working and therefore the only one capable of paying the fees.
  • Sacrifice of Personal Time: The amount of time required to divorce can be nauseating. You will need to supply your attorney (and other professionals) with countless documents and transmissions. Your attorney will give you in the beginning what appears to be an endless form, which can often take up to 5-10 hours to complete.
  • Mental & Health Costs: The toll taken on your body cannot be valued in dollars. Many people have lost years off their life due to the emotional drain the divorce process has put them through. Their physical appearance and health becomes withered with time.
  • Moving Expenses: If you decided or have been forced to leave your home, make a complete list of all the financial responsibilities of your new home. You should also begin contacting various companies associated with your move and new home.

The Preparation of Divorce:
  • Introduction to Divorce Preparation: Divorce has been called "death without a body." After the loss of a spouse through death, divorce ranks second as one of life's most stressful events.
  • Drawing the Map Through Divorce Preparation: While the climb may be uphill, drawing one map for all divorcing couples invites problems. A map for a young couple who are mutually agreed to divorce, who are without children and significant property, will be very different from a middle aged couple where a jilted wife who raised the children of a powerhouse corporate chief and who now battles her husband for the division of a considerable marital estate.
  • Finances Count in Divorce Preparation: Along the road, poorly considered emotional decisions can make for difficult, if not disastrous, long-term financial consequences. This very often happens when one spouse is blindsided by the divorce.
  • Setting a Budget in Preparing for Divorce: The first step in preparing for a divorce is the preparation of a budget. Making a budget is often very difficult because many people have never done it. A surprising number of people operate a household in a cash in-cash out basis: depositing paychecks in a joint and household checking account.
  • Creating a Budget in Preparation of Divorce: The easiest place to start is listing of fixed expenses: rent or mortgage, utilities, phone, cable - all the things that are regular and recurring expenses and vital to day-to-day living.
  • Managing the Shortfall in Preparing for Divorce: No matter where a person is in the divorce process, budgets almost always confirm the worst: money is tighter than it was before. During a separation, many people fall into a trap: Even though they know money is tight, they continue to spend.
  • The Importance of Money Management for Preparation of Divorce: The alternative to saying, "No, I cannot afford it right now" is "I'll put it on the credit card and worry about it later." This regime of thinking, which gets so many married couples in trouble, invites disaster for divorcing couples that are starting over as newly recreated single people.
  • Divorce Preparation: Which Type of Divorce: At some point, couples, even those with good financial information in hand and livable budget, must decide what kind of a divorce they want.
  • Taking the Final Step in Divorce Preparation: When a couple go into a divorce with stable finances (a budget) and equal financial information, they can make the intelligent decision each needs to start over as single people.

Useful Online Tools
  • Divorce Online - With this online software you will complete and instantly print your divorce forms and step-by-step filing procedures to file your own divorce in a timely, professional, and hassle free fashion.
  • Divorce Negotiation Online - You will be surprised how easy it is to resolve your disputes through our innovative Divorce Negotiation CenterTM. It's FREE. Give it a try.

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