While the decision to divorce is often difficult, once the decision has been made you may want it to be over quickly. However, the reality of divorce is that it is a process rather than an event and can be best understood if it is thought of as a journey. Unfortunately, not all journeys we undertake are ones that we have chosen. Sometimes we are required to travel when we would prefer not to. You may embark upon such journeys with reluctance but must go forward nonetheless. Such is the case in divorce when it is not you but your spouse that has chosen to end the marriage.
WHERE ARE YOU?
Where are you on the journey? Has the divorce paperwork been filed? Have you or your spouse retained attorneys to represent you? Is your spouse aware that you are seeking divorce? Answers to these and other questions will impact the choices that you face and the options that are available to you.
ARE YOU PREPARED?
Any journey requires you to prepare accordingly. If you are planning to take a trip, you will need to take into account the climate expected, the mode of transportation and the terrain you will be traveling through. So how does this relate to your divorce?
The climate equates to the state of your current relationship with your spouse: How well are you communicating? What is the level of trust between you? Are you able to work together to resolve issues? Just as the climate you encounter on a physical journey impacts how you prepare, being realistic about the climate between you and your spouse as you divorce should be taken into account.
Understand that there is more than one path to choose from when you divorce. Are you taking the traditional litigated approach where each of you has your own attorney and uses the courts as the final arbiter? Would you prefer to work through an alternative dispute resolution process such as Mediated Divorce or Collaborative Divorce? In the same way that if we are traveling by airplane, car or bicycle, we are bound to have a very different experience, the method by which you choose to divorce will have just as great an impact.
Finally, we think of the facts of your marital situation, usually encompassed by your finances and issues related to children, as the terrain you will be traveling through. As in any journey, understanding the landscape of your divorce will enable you to navigate through the process with much greater confidence and ensure that you will be able to embark upon your post-divorce life well prepared.
And as with any journey you eventually arrive at a destination. Where will you be at the end of the journey that is your divorce? What will you be able to afford in terms of a lifestyle? How will your children be impacted? What will your relationship with your spouse be like? The choices made during the divorce will influence the answers to these questions, so it is prudent to choose wisely.
POST-DIVORCE: WHERE NEXT?
At Pacific Divorce Management, we have been assisting people in all aspects of divorce since the 1990s with an strong emphasis on the financial aspects. Our goal is to prepare you for a successful post-divorce life by providing the necessary support for you to make informed decisions throughout the process.