No one gets married with the expectation of getting divorced in the future. Still, more than half of all marriages end in divorce, so it is a reality that many people have to face. Because it is a significant decision and one that has a direct, long-term impact on a person’s life, divorce isn’t something to be rushed into or to be taken lightly. Before getting the wheels in motion on a divorce, then, it’s crucial to know why it’s being sought in the first place. By knowing what divorce can and cannot accomplish, a couple can make a more educated decision.
Divorce is the legal dissolution of a marriage. It’s important to remember that divorce tackles the legal aspects of ending a marriage; it doesn’t do a thing to address the emotional repercussions of such a move. In many cases, divorcing couples are so wrapped up in the legal aspects of the process that they are blindsided by the considerable emotional fallout that occurs later.
Just because a court helps to untangle the various aspects of ending a marriage doesn’t mean it can force ex-spouses to be civil to one another. That’s entirely up to the individuals themselves. Furthermore, neither spouse is going to get everything that he or she wants. In reality, both will have to adjust to new standards of living, as it is usually not possible to maintain their previous lifestyles after going from a two-income household to two one-income households.
A divorce can accomplish many things. It helps to divide marital property as equitably as possible and lays the groundwork for future child support and spousal support obligations. It also helps to iron out child custody arrangements, if necessary. As long as both spouses have these goals in mind, divorce is probably the right thing to do. If there are questions about whether the marriage should end, however, it’s generally best to attempt counseling.