Everyone always focuses on the negatives of divorce. In some ways, this is to be expected: divorce is the symbol of a broken relationship. You may have heard horror stories from others who’ve gone through the process, and may be tempted to try to settle your differences quickly so you can just move on.
Despite these stories and the looming fear of the unknown, the divorce process is designed to help two people make a clean break and move forward. The process will have its ups and downs, but the degree to which you and your ex-partner can focus on moving forward, the better you will be coming out of this process.
Here are three ways the divorce process can benefit you:
1. It helps determine whose property is whose
Divorce is how we determine who gets what – in terms of marital assets and debts – during a break up. Couples who have been married for a long time often have much to split up, from a home or multiple homes to bank accounts to investment savings. Family-owned business assets and retirement accounts just complicate the asset division process, to say nothing of the family’s debts. Without divorce laws, it would be even more difficult – if not impossible – to divide these assets.
Tennessee is an equitable distribution state, which means that family law judges will first determine what the couple’s shared marital assets are. This process may include outside evaluation of property or business values. Then the judge will divide these assets fairly, which may not mean 50/50, by considering the duration of the marriage, each party’s contribution to the marriage and other factors.
2. It gets spousal support obligations in place
Divorce laws also include the possibility for spousal support (commonly called alimony). Alimony primarily exists so a less-moneyed individual will have a lifeline of financial support, at least temporarily. This way, no one has to stay trapped in a marriage for financial reasons.
In most cases, alimony is temporary and meant to help a less wealthy spouse get the necessary education to secure work and become financially independent. It’s also not a guarantee, unlike child support, so if alimony is something you care about, speak with your lawyer about it up front.
3. It helps parents create custody plans that meet the family’s needs
Many couples hesitate on divorce for the sake of the children. While it makes sense, divorce that involves children has a built-in process for determining child custody arrangements. Your custody plan will outline how you will make decisions for your children and determine which parent has the children when. The law requires that your final custody plan meet the best interests of your kids, and that the legal rights of both parents are honored.
Striving for peace during a sometimes difficult process
The above three benefits of divorce become murky when a divorce is adversarial and contentious. A contentious divorce can also lead to drawn out, costly, and unnecessary court battles.
When both sides work toward reconciling differences peacefully, the divorce process can go as smoothly as can be expected. Uncontested cases where everyone works together may even result in an out-of-court divorce settlement, which is often faster and less expensive than court proceedings. This is especially true when both attorneys employ negotiation styles that promote peace, respect and well-being throughout the process.