Avoiding a Nasty Divorce


” Love is grand; divorce is a hundred grand. ” ~ Unknown

Divorce is never easy, but does it have to be nasty? It can become that way when, after years of functioning more or less on the same team, a couple finds themselves in an adversarial position. Each can feel threatened, believing the other wants to take away more than his/her share.

The reality is that in a divorce things are divided fifty/fifty for the most part, and this means each loses half of their combined holdings, including time with the children. Each party naturally goes into a grieving process about what will be lost, and while this is just the law, it is easy to blame the partner.

If one makes significantly more than the other, the law provides compensation for the one with less. Many feel this is unfair; they have worked to achieve this level of income and cannot see why they should have to top up the spouse’s income after the divorce. This is based on the principle that after divorce, each should have an equal standard of living, just as when married. It is considered that both have contributed to the whole, even if incomes are different. Like it or not, this is the law, and it is not helpful to take out frustration about this on a spouse.

As for the children, unless one parent is patently unfit, each deserves equal time with the children. Children also need equal time with each parent. If a parent wants to have equal time, and the other is resisting that, this will cause intense conflict. Naturally as parents we want as much time as possible with our children, but the reality of divorce is that we have to share. At all costs, avoid a tug-of-war over the children.

Unless there are very unusual circumstances or there is a lot of money involved, most divorces should be fairly straightforward. Increasingly the collaborative process is becoming the norm. It is only when the individuals take an adversarial stance that things become complicated and costly. If one is going to go against what a judge would likely grant, it is too often a painful, costly and losing battle. It is better to just suck it up, get it over with, and get on with the next phase of life. Do not focus on what has been lost, but make the best of what is still there.

Copyright © Gwen Randall-Young, All Rights Reserved. Contact us if you would like permission to reprint.

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