New Year's Resolution: Divorce

In the United States, it is estimated that between 40% and 50% of all first marriages will end in divorce, and that figure goes up to 60% for second marriages.

Researchers have uncovered and established some very well-known factors that contribute to a higher risk of divorce, such as: less income, less of an education, not being affiliated with a religion, pregnancy before marriage, living together before getting married, and having parents that are divorced.

While the above factors have been linked to divorce through research, the people who have actually been divorced list the following “reasons” for ending their marriage:

  • Abuse
  • Inequality
  • Infidelity
  • Unsatisfying relationship
  • A lack of commitment
  • Arguing too much
  • Marrying too young
  • Unprepared for marriage
  • Having unrealistic expectations

A lot of these marital problems can be prevented, and some of them can certainly be fixed. However, when couples have little in common, or when spousal abuse or controlling behavior is a factor, divorce is necessary at times, but it all depends on the facts of the case.

Many people agree that divorce is different for parents and non-parents. When children are not involved, there are less reasons to stay in an unhappy marriage. If a bad marriage without children cannot be fixed, then what’s the point of being miserable?

Society has different views about parents with minor children. If parents are unhappy but their problems are not serious ones, for example, adultery and abuse are not factors, then parents have more pressure to work things out for the “sake of the children.”

Even still, no one can judge a couple with children and tell them they should stay together because of the kids. Sometimes, divorce is better for everybody involved, including the couple’s children.

Aside from having youngsters at home, often, couples delay a divorce as long as they can because of financial reasons. However, unless the couple is able to improve their relationship, eventually barriers, such as financial worries won’t be strong enough to keep a couple together.

Common Constraints Against Divorce

In many situations, a spouse wants to divorce, but they are afraid to, they have “constraints.” Think, have any of the following reasons ever held you back from filing for divorce?

  • Afraid your spouse would hurt your children
  • Afraid your spouse would lose contact with your children
  • Afraid your children would lose contact with your spouse’s family
  • Fear that money would be too tight
  • Afraid you would have to move
  • Afraid you would lose your home
  • Afraid your spouse would get full custody of the children
  • Unsure if you could get a good job to support your children
  • Afraid of losing your spouse’s health insurance
  • Afraid of what friends, family, or co-workers might think about the divorce
  • Afraid your spouse would not pay child and/or spousal support
  • Afraid you would feel like a failure
  • Afraid of what the future might hold for you
  • You’re afraid you’ll be single forever
  • Afraid of going back on the dating scene
  • Afraid your spouse will remarry long before you

Even if you any of these constraints have kept you from filing for divorce in the past, if nothing has changed over the years, or if things have gotten worse, there is a strong possibility that these constraints are no longer keeping you from taking the plunge. In fact, now that it’s December, your top New Year’s resolution may be to file for divorce in January.

When ‘Enough is Enough’

We have discussed the commonality of divorce in the United States, as well as the main reasons why people decide to end their marriage. If you are considering filing for divorce, you can probably relate to some of the information we provided above.

Often, divorce is necessary, especially when there are no children in the marriage, or when divorce will bring peace to a home with children. When parents are constantly arguing in front of, or in earshot of the children, it can create several negative, yet frequent emotions for the children, such as anger, anxiety, and sadness.

When a child's home life is like World War III, often the best solution is for the parents to dissolve their marriage and work together to bring peace and love back to their children’s lives, with two separate households. Sometimes an unhappy couple has to say, “Enough is enough.”

Preparing for a Divorce in the New Year

If you have decided to file for divorce in December or January, then you have a lot to think about. For starters, you’ll be at the advantage if you file for divorce before your spouse does. Why? Because, you’ll be acting instead of reacting.

When you file for divorce first, you can consult with a divorce attorney, learn about your rights, and ensure that each step you make from that point forward is strategic. This way, you can dramatically reduce the chances of saying or doing something that you later regret.

Here are a few things that you should consider:

  • Who will have custody of the children most of the time (where applicable)?
  • Is it likely that spousal and/or child support will be ordered in my case?
  • California is a community property state, which means both spouses are entitled to half of the marital property under the law.
  • Even though California is a community property state, spouses can reach their own marital settlement agreement.
  • Both parents are REQUIRED to financially support their children.
  • California is a no-fault divorce state.
  • It takes at least 6 months to obtain a divorce in California.
  • What will happen to the marital home?
  • Watch what you post on social media about the divorce.
  • A judge can make temporary orders for child and spousal support.
  • Spousal support is not automatic in California divorces.
  • When spousal support is ordered, it’s usually for half the length of the marriage.
  • Separate property is NOT subject to division in a divorce.
  • Spousal support is tax deductible for the paying spouse and counted as income for the receiving spouse. That is not the case with child support.

If you have made a New Year’s resolution to file for divorce in January, it’s wise to consult with a Los Angeles divorce attorney sooner than later. For the professional legal assistance you need, contact Claery & Hammond, LLPfor a free case evaluation!