Divorce Advice: The Decision to Divorce

The Decision to Divorce and Early Considerations

The decision to divorce is one of the most significant decisions you will ever make. Divorce is a traumatic experience for everyone involved. Nothing about it is pleasant or easy. Divorce does not mean you are a failure as a spouse, parent or person.

Knoxville divorceDivorce and child custody cases involve many complex issues because they involve couples who were (or sometimes still are) in love with each other. Sometimes they grow to dislike each other just as passionately.

Do not allow your family or friends to create unrealistic expectations about your case. Every case is different. Avoid the legal advice of well-meaning family members or friends who are recently divorced. In most cases, the legal advice you get from your friends and family is worth exactly what you paid for it — nothing.

Accept that you will not end up with everything you want. Likewise, your spouse will not get everything he or she wants. Fighting over matters of “principle” can be costly and frustrating. So can fighting over every little thing. Choose your battles carefully. Do not spend $1,000 in legal fees to address a $100 problem. Spend less time worrying about who is right and more time worrying about what is right. Always take the high road.

If you are like most people going through divorce, you are not as innocent as you claim, and your spouse is not as guilty as you claim. There is always another side to the story. Everyone has shortcomings. It is human nature to try and hide them. Whether intentionally or not, both spouses typically contribute in one way or another to the failure of the marriage. Accept responsibility for your conduct, good or bad. Admit your mistakes. Be honest with yourself and your lawyer.

Getting through the divorce with your dignity intact should be one of your main goals. The way you handle yourself during the divorce will affect your relationship with your spouse and children forever.

It is natural to grieve the loss of your relationship with your spouse and/or children. There is no shortcut to healing. You do not have to suffer alone. Do not be afraid or embarrassed to ask for help. In most cases, extreme emotions are only temporary. It is normal to experience emotions such as anger, fear, guilt, loneliness, helplessness, sorrow, resentment, regret and depression.

If the other parent is a bad person whom you have grown to hate, remember that he or she will always be your children’s father or mother. Do not forget that you chose your spouse to be the parent of your children. Always treat your spouse, their friends, and their family with courtesy and respect. Respect your spouse’s role as a parent.

Divorce can be more difficult on the children than the parents. It may take your children months or even years to adjust to the divorce. What is best for you is not always best for your children. Your children’s needs should always come first.

Your children will eventually ask you why you are getting a divorce. Tell them that you and your spouse are the ones responsible for the divorce. Your children will want to know where they will live, whether they will see both parents, whether they will go to the same schools and have the same friends, etc. They want clear and honest answers. Tell your children that both parents love them very much and this will never change, but you and your spouse just cannot live together.

Never discuss the details of the case when you can be overheard by the children. Never discuss details of your case with your children under the excuse that they need to know the truth. They do not.

Never make derogatory comments about the other parent to the children, and never allow others to make derogatory comments about the other parent to the children.

Do not interfere with or try to cut short your children’s telephone calls, emails, text messages or other contact with your spouse. Never tell your children that your spouse is not paying child support and/or alimony. It places the child in the middle of the dispute. Never tell your children they cannot participate in any activity because your spouse refuses to pay for it, even if it is true.

Never argue with your spouse in front of the children. Never try to encourage your children to dislike your spouse.

Never tell your children they do not have to visit your spouse if they do not want to. Never use your children to relay messages to the other spouse or to spy on your spouse.

If you want to discuss your situation with one of the divorce and family law attorneys at Herston Law Group, please click here to contact us for a consultation.

Information provided by K.O. Herston: Knoxville, Tennessee Divorce, Matrimonial and Family Law Attorney.

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K.O. Herston is a family-law attorney in Knoxville, Tennessee whose practice is devoted exclusively to family law, including divorce, child custody, child support, alimony, prenuptial agreements, and other aspects of family law.

One thought on “Divorce Advice: The Decision to Divorce

  1. Yep, what you say is good advice. It’s all pretty much the standard advice most lawyers (and marriage counselors) will give people who are getting divorced.

    But here’s the conundrum I have. Fighting “fair” and above board in a divorce can be a losing proposition if the person you’re getting divorced from doesn’t play by the same rules.

    For example, what do you think should be the custody outcome in the case of an at-home mom and a (to-be) ex-husband who works long hours and is often away on business? For good measure, add in that the husband is going through a series of affairs (with the lovers around the kids) And let’s also add in that the husband’s parents are running down the wife to the kids as being an awful person.

    You’d think the outcome would be shared custody but with the kids spending more time at the mom’s house (certainly at least for when the husband was away).

    Well, in my case, you’d be wrong. Just switch the roles of the parents. I was an at-home dad in our last two years of marriage.

    The court mandated custody was the kids spent exactly 50% of the time at each other’s houses even though much of my kids time at my ex-wife’s house was just with a newly hired housekeeper. It’s as my own lawyer said in stunned disbelief: “My god, the housekeeper won custody!”

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