Women appear more ready, willing, and able to accept the end of a marriage as compared to men. We say this because at least, nationwide, 69% of divorces are initiated by women, and that number is growing. The National Center for Health Statistics, as recently as 2020, claim that 80% of divorces are initiated by women.
From our point of view, the three biggest changes in your life will be your identity, your finances, and your relationship with your children.
1. Your Identity Changes. Embrace it!
When in a marriage, you are part of a team. Most partners consider the other partner when making decisions and accommodate the other in the decision process. Compromise is part of marriage. The music you listen, the food you eat, the people you hang out with may all change throughout the marriage. Your relationship to your siblings, parents and best friends all take second seat to your marriage. The demands from family life also move you away from spending time as you did before marriage. When you divorce the changes in your life are profound.
You will find yourself in a place where you make decisions that suit yourself. You have relationships that you alone choose. In sort, you get to dance to the beat of your drum. While these changes are extremely liberating, these changes can also leave you in a place where you may be confused or lonely.
If you can embrace the changes and make the absence of the marriage an opportunity for you to rediscover yourself, divorce and your new life is more likely to be exciting and satisfying. Becoming yourself is liberating. Anticipate these changes and plan for them.
- Identify and pursue new friends.
- Reconnect with family members and old friends.
- Pursue hobbies that you could not before.
- Don’t get lost in the emotional upheaval of the divorce.
- Clear a path for your new life and walk down it!
2. Develop A Financial Plan
Separation and divorce create serious disruption to personal finances. You will no longer be sharing living expenses. Your rent or mortgage, utility bills, automobile insurance – will be yours alone. You will be incurring costs associated with divorce. Your effective rate of taxes will increase. Your ability to save will decrease. It is important to anticipate and quantify the financial impact.
Many people find that consulting with a financial planner better enables them to plan for the future. In addition to consulting with a financial planner, you should also create a budget. Taking a close look at what your net take home pay will be after the divorce, and what your monthly living expenses will be is a very important step to a successful post-divorce life.
If you have children, chances are you will be paying or receiving child support – anticipate this expense.
3. If You Are Going to Have Physical Custody of Your Children, Be Prepared
After divorce, more than 82% of women have physical custody of their children. I know when I divorced, I had physical custody of my children. It was commonplace just 15 years ago. However, times are changing quickly. In 1994, 16% of fathers got custody of the children after divorce. In 1994 this percentage increased to 17.5%. Three years ago the percentage increased to 20.1%. Over the last ten years or so, in my practice, there have been profound changes in child custody.
In almost every case, fathers want equal access to their children. Mothers are more likely to agree to a shared physical custody arrangement. Working fulltime and having physical custody of your children, is demanding and leaves little time for you to have your own life. This is damaging to the moms and the children. It is worthwhile considering whether it may be in your children’s best interest to spend more time with the other parent. You should only consider shared physical custody; however, if you can peacefully co-parent with the other parent.
If you are considering divorce and you have minor children, before deciding what custodial arrangement you think is best for your children, do some research. Take a close look at the relationship your children have with you and have with the other parent. Understand the strengths and weaknesses that each of you will impart to the children. Assuming your spouse is not mentally ill, does not have substance abuse issues or anger-management problems, co-parenting and shared custody may be what is best for you in your new life and best for the fullest development of your children as they grow into adults.
For any person, divorce is a tough and challenging situation to face. Smart women take the divorce situation as an opportunity to become independent and grow in life. The divorce process might take time, but with patience and dedication, women can find happiness with all the challenges ahead. If you are planning to file for divorce, you need to consult an experienced divorce attorney.
At Paré & Associates, LLC (formerly Law Office of Alice Paré), we have been helping clients in Germantown, Clarksburg, and throughout Montgomery County for more than thirty (30) years.
Our attorneys are available to meet with you in person, over the phone, or online – however, you prefer.
If you are ready to consult with an attorney, or just need some questions answered, contact us here, go online to schedule an appointment, or call us at (301)515-1190 to set up an initial consultation.