While a divorce may be easy to obtain from the legal point of view, the human element in any divorce can be extremely tough to handle. Specifically, a divorcing/divorced spouse has to contend with:
- The decision to divorce
- Dealing with emotions
- Thinking about the children’s future
- Dealing with the finances
- Starting life all over again
- Going through the legal processes (which may sometimes become long-drawn, especially in high-conflict cases)
1. The Decision To Divorce
Divorce marks an end to the dreams, plans, and hopes that both spouses had weaved together for the long term. When you decide to divorce, it means that you have started hating the person you once loved and you can no longer stay with the person with whom you had vowed to share your life. It’s a life-changing contradiction!
Then you may have children to look after and share, familial obligations, money matters to be resolved, and more. Divorce is one tough decision to make – unless your marriage is abusive (in which case, the exit comes as a big relief).
So, in most cases, especially in marriages that have lasted for several years, the decision to divorce is a tough one to take and it carries a sting in its tail even though it may be mutual and friendly.
2. Dealing With Emotions
Depending upon the circumstances that led to the divorce, you may be engulfed by feelings of anger, shame, guilt, and more.
Spouses have to contend with a host of emotions such as waking up all alone, adjusting to a new home routine, dealing with loneliness, attending social engagements and interacting with friends without having your spouse by your side, getting snubbed by friends or family who have taken sides, running into your ex-spouse, handling the stigma, and more. Such circumstances can make you anxious, disoriented, hyperactive, or depressed. There is no escaping – you just have to deal with the situation.
3. Thinking About The Children’s Future
How will the divorce play on the kids’ emotions? Will it scar their future or affect them when they become adults? Will they get psychologically impacted, and to what extent? Will the kids feel secure about their future? Will shuttling between parents impact them emotionally? How will the kids react when they cannot see both parents together as they used to?
Legitimate questions like these may play on every parent’s mind and can make many parents feel guilty about divorce.
4. Dealing With The Finances
Divorce leaves both spouses poorer – the family income that was earlier clubbed together is now halved. But the expenses may double because now both spouses have to run an independent home individually. On top of that, one spouse may have to pay alimony and child support (either in full or in part). On the other hand, the alimony recipient would be forced to become dependent on the monthly payouts if he/she does not have the skills to get a job. And that is not a good feeling.
To sum up, there are fewer dollars to go around after divorce and both spouses may have to tighten budgets and do things to make ends meet.
5. Starting Life All Over Again
Many spouses, particularly the ones who were in a long marriage, may feel that starting life afresh after divorce is a herculean task. They now must manage the home all alone while dealing with lesser money and disturbed emotions, at the same time.
More than emotions, it is the money that can stress out the spouses as they start a new life. They may fear that their emotional state may cause underperformance in their personal and professional life.
6. Going Through The Legal Processes
A straightforward no-fault divorce case can be easy and quick to resolve, but if you have to prove fault to get a higher share of alimony, property, child support, and parenting time, then the case can drag on for long and become messy. An at-fault divorce case takes a long time (it can stretch up to 3 years and perhaps longer in high-conflict situations).
Many divorces are resolved by mediation or collaborative divorce processes, which cost much less than resolving a divorce by going to the courts. However, both spouses may find it unpleasant to face off against each other in any type of divorce process, no matter how peaceful it may be. That is because both spouses are likely to have used family secrets against each other and the legal process can bruise their emotional well-being some more.