If you've been through a divorce, or are going through a divorce, I don't have to tell you it's most likely one of the toughest things you have to deal with in your life.
Am I right?
Now, there are many people who get divorced amicably and if you one of them, I salute you. But for the contested divorces, it can be a long, draining, emotional and financial burden.
And even when the divorce is over, it's not really "over."
Am I right?
What makes divorce so difficult though? I mean, when you take a moment and think about it...did you ever ask yourself how it got so bad?
Obviously, for each couple, the point of no return differs. It might not have been "one thing" but the culmination of a number of things.
What makes divorce so challenging is that you have two people who at one time exchanged vows pledging their undying love and a commitment to each other for life who are now taking affirmative steps to undo those pledges in a sea of what is most likely animosity and contempt for each other.
Divorce lives and is surrounded by an atmosphere of contempt where a couple in distress is expected to divide marital assets and agree on who gets what and how often each other can see their own children.
Let's be honest, divorce is not something you prepare for (unless you have a pre-nup) before it happens and there is no one size fits all manual to follow if you are getting divorced.
You often hear me say that divorce is a business transaction. But, there is one thing that gets in the way of it being that simple.
Emotion is probably the biggest obstacle to getting quickly and amicably divorced.
It prevents us from thinking clearly and taking care of the business at hand.
If you have an attorney representing you in your divorce, that person is supposed to handle the "business" aspect of the divorce for you, in case you are emotionally unprepared to do so yourself.
Also, more times than not, when emotions take over, you tend to do things that probably aren't in the best interest of yourself or the children.
For example, you badmouth your ex in front of the kids all the time (do you even know you're doing this?) Or, you send insulting texts to your ex, calling him/her every name in the book. Or, you do things for the sole purpose of "hurting" your ex and not for any other reason.
Emotion also plays a role in how marital assets get distributed and what you both are willing to agree to versus fighting it out till the death.
Is Creating A Formulaic System the Answer?
Many states are leaning toward instituting more formulaic solutions to help divorces settle quicker. For example, one of the hot topics of late has been instituting alimony guidelines. Similar to child support guidelines, where the amount of child support is determined by plugging in data into an algorithm that spits out how much child support should be awarded, alimony guidelines are a more formulaic approach to determining how long and how much one spouse may be entitled to for alimony. Basically, you would enter how long the marriage was and the incomes of both parties and other relevant data and you would get an alimony number.
Many divorce attorneys are against alimony guidelines because it creates a "one size fits all" system and families are anything but one size fits all. The fact is that if you don't have to argue about alimony, many divorces would end much quicker. Perhaps, divorce attorneys are worried about that too...
This article isn't about the viability of alimony guidelines. It's about making the process of divorce less emotional and less damaging to the parties. The point of divorce is to get separated and move on. Who wants to spend years arguing over who gets what when most of the time, the assets are not even worth the argument?
But, when you're the one knee deep in it that can be hard to see.
And Then There's Children
Children don't make getting divorced easier.
Just the opposite.
Until both parents choose not to use the children as pawns for revenge, or manipulation against the other parent, there will continue to be custody evaluations (that easily take 6+ months and can cost $10,000+) that muck up the divorce process.
The people who lose in this situation are the children. Parents lose focus on this during a contested divorce. The desire to co-parent together, when there is animosity flowing between the parents, can be hard to come by, but when kids are involved, parents have to put them before anything else. That's why most custody laws are "what is in the best interest of the children?"
No Easy Answer
There is no easy way to make the process of getting divorced emotionless. At least not yet; maybe someone will create a wonder divorce drug that people can take so they treat their divorce like it should be...a business transaction.
Both parties have to want to get divorced fairly and quickly, which will translate into cheaply, especially if attorney are used.
Jason Levoy, a.k.a The Divorce Resource Guy, is an attorney who coaches people without a lawyer how to get through the divorce process like a professional. Check out his free divorce guide on the negotiation tactics used by top divorce attorneys to settle divorces.