The True Cost of Divorce
Divorce is Expensive: Save Your Marriage Instead
Couples do not usually calculate the true cost of divorce when they are considering whether to work through their marital issues or get divorced. The true cost of divorce includes many aspects that most people fail to recognize as being part of the total cost (both monetary and emotional) of divorce.
Possible Marriage Problems
If you're considering divorce, you probably have a history of marital problems, which could involve any or all of the following:
- You think you have an awful marriage, and it has been that way for a long time.
- You think you're no longer in love.
- You've had it with your spouse's mistreatment of you.
- You think your spouse hasn't lived up to what you expected, and instead is being controlling, manipulative, angry, or whatever.
- Perhaps you are having an affair on the side and all you can think of is your new relationship.
True Cost of Divorce
Divorce has many financial and emotional costs. You must contemplate each factor and determine if it is really worth it to get a divorce. In many cases it is a better choice to stay married.
Financial Costs to Consider:
- Splitting property, investments and income.
- Retirement accounts will need to be separated, which will likely incur fees.
- After divorce, you will probably need to obtain two separate medical benefits packages.
- Child custody and visitation, as well as babysitting, may have financial implications.
- Legal fees can become a major factor in divorce. Legal fees can range in the tens of thousands or more.
To compare, extensive marriage counseling with top professionals in the field can cost as little as a few thousand dollars.
- The same income you and your spouse receive now will need to support two separate households - making it unlikely that you and your spouse will be able to continue the level of life-style you have created.
- Sometimes (and this always surprises me) an otherwise perfectly reasonable and up-until-now friendly, or even loving, spouse can lose all thinking capacity and be willing to create huge legal debts or tax liabilities in anger, thinking it might hurt the partner who is asking for the divorce.
- Disagreements, complicated settlements and/or complicated custody decisions can cause legal fees to become exorbitant.
- At times, one person, either by intention or obstinacy or even misunderstanding, can drive up the legal expenses for both partners considerably.
Emotional Costs to Consider:
- Your children, if you have any, will suffer the most and for the longest. Children are usually affected negatively by divorce for the rest of their lives. Learn more about children and divorce and issues of divorce with children.
- You will suffer emotionally and physically as you adjust to no longer being married.
- Even if you can't imagine it now, you will probably miss your spouse. Usually considerably.
- You will have to adjust to a new life apart: no longer single, no longer married, you would now be "divorced." It is a one-way door. Once you go through with the divorce, you will never be the same again.
- Your family and friends, on both sides, will suffer emotionally and possibly ethically. Sometimes friends and even family feel they have to choose sides between the two of you, or have to stick up for one of you.
- Divorcing will not alleviate your mental health issues or symptoms. Divorce rarely makes mental health issues go away. Almost always the person experiencing the issues must work through the proper steps himself or herself to alleviate the problem, even after the divorce.
- While tangible property and custody might seem straightforward to you, there are often emotional issues related to these decisions. You will have to deal with these emotions at some point.
- Divorce impacts every area of your life. Almost all the people in your life will be affected by your divorce, and mostly in bad ways.
- Bitter anger can result in an unbalanced settlement if, for whatever reason, the angered party simply gives in, rather than argue for an equitable settlement. Or the bitter spouse might use the marital anger in stubbornness to force an inequitable settlement.
Save Your Marriage
There is hope! Many married couples who are on the brink of divorce find that they are able to save their marriages by putting forth effort and working together to create a marriage that is better than it ever was.
Can You Admit You Might Be Wrong?
There are many hidden negative aspects to divorce. Unfortunately, many couples get caught up in the momentum.
Suicide As An Analogy
Think of someone who might be contemplating suicide. This person might have normal ups and downs, and at a time of an extreme down period forget many good experiences and feel defeated, thinking there could be no future good times.
If the person gets caught up in that negative momentum, he might murder himself without fully considering that life is a long-term project with ups and downs because at that moment the struggle to continue feels too daunting.
Divorce is Long-Term, With Ups and Downs
Divorce can be like a suicide or murder of your marriage. At the moment, one of the spouses feels that the effort to fix the marriage is just too discouraging. Sometimes, they may have even tried counseling, but it "didn't work".
If you really knew how much pain and financial and emotional cost divorce could create in your situation, perhaps you'd reconsider.
A Wonderful Marriage Takes Work and Time
Let me be clear, though, creating a wonderful marriage takes work and time. Wouldn't it be wonderful if you could take what you started when you first married and make it into something wonderful now?
If you put in that hard work and manage to turn your relationship around, the history you now see as filled with negatives will turn around also. Then you will be able to see again the strength in the history and family you share together.
Think About Working on Your Marriage
Take a deep breath and think about working on your marriage. You were once very much in love and had great times together, even if it is difficult in your present state to remember those wonderful shared experiences.
Good marriage counseling can help you get back to that point. The bad feelings and problems in your marriage are built up over years from neglect and taking for granted what you have. Instead of divorce, consider marriage counseling with a marriage-friendly counselor who has appropriate experience for your situation.
With proper guidance from an expert and work on your part, you can most probably retrieve the love in your marriage and avoid divorce. You will save thousands and possibly tens of thousands of dollars in lawyer's fees and other costs, as well as saving on all the emotional costs.
I wish you all the best in finding the love you've lost in the spouse whose history you have shared for years.
Marriage Help to Stop Divorce
I help couples from all over the world put their marriages back together in my office in Baltimore, Maryland (in the town of Pikesville). These couples work with me and make their marriage better than it ever was.
I have been helping couples fix their broken marriages for over 35 years. I can probably help you fix your marriage too. Please call me on 410-654-1300 or toll-free on 866-654-1300 to discuss your options (marriage counseling or marriage retreats) further.
Self-Help Marriage Programs
For those that are confident in their abilities to work through issues on their own, but need direction, or for those that are financially unable to attend marriage counseling, I have created various marriage self-help programs to help you save your marriage.