Whether it’s their first marriage or their fourth, most folks look back on the divorce process with a lot of pain and regret. In my almost thirty years of practice, I’ve seen some clients come through multiple times. I always ask about their last divorce process and what if anything we should do differently, or that they want to do differently. Their straight-from-the-trenches responses can offer insights to anyone contemplating the end of a marriage.
The Importance of a Prenup
“You were right, should have gotten a prenuptial,” Doug, age 54.
Fact: There is a 50% divorce rate in this country and if you are marrying for a second time, the divorce rate is even higher. A prenuptial is a way to define your assets and divide them rather than have the courts do so.
The Many Costs of Infidelity
“I should not have cheated on her, she still hates me and my kids have suffered,” William, age 70.
Fact: From a legal point of view, adultery has consequences. If you are a dependent spouse and you commit adultery, you are barred from seeking spousal support. See You also might face an alienation of affection and/or criminal conversation suit in North Carolina. See (hyperlink to blog about alienation of affection)
In An Ugly Divorce, No One Wins
“We should not have gone to war – we each spent about $100,000 on attorneys,” Bob, age 59.
Fact: Divorces are expensive. Attorneys bill by the hour. So do paralegals. If you have a case with multiple issues – property, custody and child support as well as spousal support and if both the husband and wife dig in their heels, the clock ticks quickly and you can spend an exorbitant amount of money. Mediation and collaborative law are good ways to settle without spending so much money.
Substance Abuse Destroys Relationships
“My alcoholism ruined the marriage. Now that I’m sober, we could be very happy together,” Kelly, age 32.
Fact: One of the leading causes of divorce is addiction – alcohol and prescription drugs are the most prevalent, but there is now an increase in the use of harder drugs such as heroin.
If your spouse has an addiction problem, seek counseling and get support from Narcotics Anonymous (NA) meetings. If you have issues, get medical help, detox and stay sober. It’s your life and your family’s life that you may be destroying.
End The Marriage Respectfully
“I should have talked to her rather than just walking out, I owed her that after 30 years of marriage, and her anger at me and lack of closure made settlement impossible,” Michael, age 64.
Fact: Divorces go smoother when the spouses have talked over the upcoming separation and are not left hanging. Spouses who want to avoid the conflict of discussing the desire to separate create more conflict.
Divorce is rarely easy, but following these words of advice can help you and your family get through the process quicker and with less pain and anger.