After months of arguing and feeling distant from your spouse, the two of you may decide to see a therapist. Hopefully, couples counseling works, and you stay married. Sometimes, no matter how hard a couple works to keep their marriage intact, it doesn’t work. People are ever-changing, spouses may simply grow apart.
If you and your spouse find yourselves discussing divorce, it may be time to start learning about the divorce process: how you will tell the kids, which one of you will keep the house, how you will split your assets, etcetera. It is important for you to equip yourself with some knowledge of the process before it begins, there are three common misconceptions about divorce to be aware of.
- Divorce is a quick process.
This is not true. The divorce process can take months, even years to complete. After a couple has agreed on every aspect of divorce—which can take months—there is a waiting period before the divorce can be finalized. In Tennessee, if you have children, the hearing to finalize the divorce must be held at least 90 days after you filed for divorce. On average, the process from beginning to end takes 11 months.
- You cannot make changes to a custody agreement.
A great deal of consideration goes into a custody arrangement, whether you and your spouse came to an agreement or a judge mandates it, you may think it is set in stone. This is not the case, there are several life circumstances in which a custody agreement is subject to modification. If one parent moves away, if a parent’s work schedule changes, if one parent can no longer handle the responsibility, if the child’s schedule changes, the parents may be able to adjust their agreement. In some cases, the ex-spouses will have to go back to court to make the change.
- Your ex completely out of your life.
If you have children together, you probably know this isn’t true. The two of you will have to communicate quite frequently for the sake of your children. Even divorcees who do not have children together often find themselves communicating more often than they would like. You and your ex-spouse should use good communication techniques. If you argue whenever you meet face-to-face, email communication may be better for you.
Divorce processes are different for every couple. Hopefully, the divorce process will be tolerable for everyone involved. Depending on your situation, it may be wise to speak with a counselor, therapist, child specialist, financial planner or legal adviser. It is important that you keep your child’s best interest at heart and do what you can to support them.