To say that divorce is common in the United States is something of an understatement. According to the website DivorceStatistics.org, 41% of all first marriages in this country end in divorce.
The rate for second marriages comes in a bit higher at 60%, while the rate for third marriages is an incredible 73%.
Divorce isn’t just something that affects couples without children, either. While 66% of all childless couples will ultimately separate permanently, couples with children still have a 40% divorce rate.
The divorce rate among families with children underlines just what a complicated process divorce can sometimes be. Very rarely is it a process you can go through alone – in more ways than one. While most people already understand that a divorce will require the professional help of an attorney to complete successfully, the type of assistance you’ll need does NOT end there.
Therapists (For Yourself)
Going through a divorce can certainly be a troubling time emotionally, but one thing you can do to help get through this rough road in one piece is to consult a professional therapist. Many of the emotional issues for someone going through a divorce stem from accountability – or in most cases, a lack thereof. People can sometimes feel like they were doing all of the hard work in the relationship and that they were willing to give a mile while their spouse was only willing to give an inch, so to speak.
William J. Doherty, a therapist based in Minnesota, echoed these sentiments when he talked about his approach to these situations in an interview with the Wall Street Journal. “I emphasize each person understanding their own contribution to the marital problems,” he said.
Indeed, sometimes this perspective can help shed new light on the reason why a divorce manifested itself in the first place. When someone realizes that the cause was not actually one sided and that they, too, played an equal role in everything that lead to this point, it can help give them a certain degree of closure that can be necessary to retain their emotional health and put them in a better position to move on with their lives.
An old saying tells us that “the first step on the road to recovery is admitting we have a problem” and seeking the professional help of a therapist during a divorce can be a great way to do exactly that.
Therapists (For Your Children)
As previously stated, divorce can have an immediate affect on every member of your family – including the younger ones. As many as 1.5 million children in the United States each year go through a divorce which can lead to a number of short-term negative affects including things like anxiety, anger, shock, rejection and more.
However, with the appropriate amount of guidance at this troubling time, most kids do turn out just fine. According to a 2002 study conducted by psychologist E. Mavis Hetherington of the University of Virginia, many of the negative emotional symptoms of a divorce on a child either diminish or disappear entirely by the end of the second year. She would go on to say that “most children of divorce do well in the longer term” and that “only a minority of kids suffer longer.” This is part of the reason why getting a therapist for your kids is so important – you can do your part to help make sure they don’t fall into that minority.
If someone starts the divorce process who has never been down that road, they sometimes naturally assume that all financial questions will be handled by the attorney in charge of their case. This is a bit like assuming that your dentist will also be able to remove your appendix just because he’s a doctor. While this is true, the dentist doesn’t have the specialty required to actually navigate this path to the most favorable possible outcome.
Instead, the importance of seeing a professional certified public accountant when you begin the divorce process cannot be overstated. An attorney (or a judge) may tell you exactly what is going to happen to your financial assets in the aftermath of your settlement, but only a CPA will be able to work with you to help understand exactly what this really means.
Financial decisions will not be the only issue you will have to contend with during your divorce. Things like child custody will also need to be addressed, for example, along with an agreement that will dictate how children are going to be provided for financially. Divorce also has very big implications in terms of income tax, specifically due to things like the fact that alimony is often taxable, what happens if you are entitled to part of an ex-spouse’s retirement account (or what happens if they are entitled to part of yours) and more.
Edward Hrunek, EA, CDFA, a senior accountant in Chicago, underlined just how important a certified financial planner can be during the divorce process. “As painful as divorce is, clients need trusted financial experts to assist them, and their attorneys, with the financial implications and income tax ramifications of their divorce settlement.”
While it’s true that you will likely want to consult a divorce attorney before moving forward, it isn’t necessarily for the reason you might think. Many people believe that hiring an attorney is the first sign of a long, protracted legal battle, but it certainly doesn’t have to be. Divorce attorneys can and should be collaborators, first and foremost.
The divorce process is a complicated legal procedure, as most things are. A divorce attorney can help make sure that all parties are supplying the relevant information, that everyone is being truthful and that both members of the couple are doing exactly what they’re supposed to be doing and when they’re supposed to be doing it.
A divorce attorney doesn’t have to fight on your behalf – instead, they can lend a helping hand, making sure that everything is going along as smoothly as it can and should.
Divorce can be a difficult road to travel, but it’s important to understand that it isn’t one you have to travel alone. If you’re looking for additional information about how divorce can affect everyone in your family, or if you’re looking for more resources regarding how you can settle your divorce as amicably and as peacefully as possible, please don’t delay – go to www.divorceinpeace.com.