The 1970s saw the highest rate of divorce for marriages in America, with rates higher than 5 divorces per every 1,000 Americans. Although divorce rates have generally been in a downward trend since then, the complications and effects from going through a divorce have not been in a generally downward trend. Depending on how people look at it, the complexity of divorces might be in an upward trend in more recent years. In many cases, the aspects of divorce that make it so complicated and have lasting effects are overlooked by individuals seeking to leave a relationship that is no longer beneficial to them. This can be especially true when the emotional tax of divorce is factored into the decision making. Those weighing the option of a divorce could benefit from taking a moment to consider a few things first.
Divorce Does Not Pertain To The Children
Sometimes parents get too invested in the divorce process and view it as opposing sides. Although that viewpoint isn’t necessarily wrong in itself, acting on it by involving the children is wrong. Children are considered equally for custody during the divorce process, and should be shielded from most of the process. However, when it is necessary to involve the children, the court should handle their involvement through an appointed attorney. When parents involve their children in the divorce process, they create the possibility for parental alienation to occur, whether intentionally or not.
Parental alienation is a serious issue that can cause significant and unnecessary emotional damage to children that are subject to the practice. Children need to be treated fairly and with respect by each parent the same way they would be treated if the divorce was not being pursued. Afterall, a divorce is for the legal separation of the parents and not to separate children from their parents.
Divorce Does Not End When A Judge Signs The Papers
Legally speaking, the divorce is finalized and recognized after the judge signs and the county clerk enters the order into the court records. Although the process is legally over, there are still aspects to execute. For some, it may still be necessary to submit paperwork to change their last name if this provision was not included in the divorce decree. While technically there is nothing stopping an individual from using their former last name, changing a last name with the social security office, passport office, and DMV will require some form of documentation to prove that a different name has been legally appointed.
Additionally, any determinations resulting from the divorce such as child custody, child support, alimony, and property division usually aren’t enforceable until after the divorce has been finalized and filed. So even though the litigation for a divorce has been completed, it is likely that the execution of the terms of the divorce will only occur after the divorce decree has been entered into the court records.
Divorce Has Many Lasting Financial Implications
Most people are aware that divorce has financial implications, however, some people are not aware of the full extent. For example, in New York, a professional degree earned by either party during the span of the marriage might actually be considered an asset that will need to be ‘split’ during the divorce process. Fees for the services of a divorce can add up quickly, too, with an average fee of around $15,000 per party. There are also the more commonly known financial implications of divorce such as one party losing possession of the marital house or a car. For these reasons, it’s important to get estimates of all the fees and potential losses that may be accrued once the divorce is finalized.
Creating a financial plan to follow after a divorce is an ideal way to prepare for life afterward. Some things that a financial plan might need to include are: loan options to purchase a replacement car, options to gain an additional education or income, budgeting for food and consumables, information regarding possible housing (i.e. lists of available apartments or houses in the area), and more. In the case of considering a house over an apartment, it is necessary to also research flexible loan options such as those offered through the office of Veterans Affairs or backed by the Federal Housing Administration. Both options require little to no down payment and offer lower credit score requirements, making them ideal for individuals who may have encountered financial hardships such as those resulting from a divorce. The entire process of divorce and afterward is stressful enough. Taking the time to set up a plan that can easily be followed can help to reduce some of the stress and provide a sense of stability while recovering from the divorce process.
Divorce Has Long Lasting Emotional And Mental Effects
Divorce is not just expensive financially but emotionally and mentally as well, with the cost increasing as the situation gets more complicated. Of course, some people going through a divorce may not have a negative experience, although this is less common. Individuals who are going through a divorce, and encountering negative emotional and mental impacts, could experience lower life satisfaction, depression, increased medical visits, increased stress levels, and even an increase in their mortality rate. Knowing this, it is imperative to prepare for these adverse results with common means to do so involving consistent therapy, planning and establishing a healthier lifestyle, enrolling in clubs or joining groups, and investing in hobbies.
In addition to keeping an eye on one’s own mental and emotional health, any children affected by the divorce process should also have proper attention and care. Depending on the circumstances of the divorce and the age of the children, they can often feel as though they need to try to keep their parents together, with some children having feelings that the entire divorce is their fault. With all the moving parts of a divorce, it is, unfortunately, common for children’s emotional and mental wellbeing to alter. As a result, they could face life-long problems for the children. Just as the parties involved in the divorce should attend therapy and invest in their personal interests, it is important for the children to receive the same attention, and more so, in the form of the parents having frequent communication with the children in order to reassure them that the divorce is in no way the fault of the children.
Divorce consists of many complications and is often considered only after every other option has been exhausted or rejected. Because divorce is sometimes a last resort, individuals intending to go through with the process do not always consider all the effects and implications that divorce carries. Taking some time to reflect on everything that divorce entails is a smart move as it can help prepare all parties for what’s down the road.
About the Author
Elliot S. Schlissel, Esq. is the managing partner of Schlissel DeCorpo LLP. The law firm has been representing parties in divorce cases for 4 decades. He can be reached for a free consultation at 800-344-6431 or by email at Elliot@sdnylaw.com.