How Terrible Is It to Go Through a Divorce?
It depends on the person going through it, although it’s safe to state that for most people it is a miserable experience. Some may acknowledge it was a necessary, though still not a pleasant, experience.
From my perspective as a divorce lawyer, I can tell you what most people are surprised and demoralized by in the divorce process:
- The shockingly long time that it takes to complete the divorce process. People expect it take several weeks or months, not the years it often takes.
- The shocking amount of legal fees charged to go through the divorce process, if one utilizes a lawyer in the divorce process. Going all the way to trial can easily run $20,000 to $50,000 or more. Even when you settle the case in mediation (which far too many people think is a magic pill), it may be tens of thousands of dollars before you get to that point.
- How little the judge assigned to your case appears to care about you and your family. You are a face in a crowd of hundreds of other cases. Judges hate divorce cases, and it’s easy for them (some of them, not all of them) to get jaded and to believe “I’ve seen cases like this one a thousand times before, so I don’t need to pay close attention to this case.”
- How easy it is to lie to the court and get away with it so often.
Divorce causes a lot of people to become disillusioned with and soured on crucial aspects of life: love, trust, commitment, and justice. It’s no wonder that when a divorce shakes or shatters one’s conception of these things, the effects are terrifying, depressing, and persistent. Is there a way to avoid or prevent all of that in divorce? Not that I know of. Is there a way to soften some blows and lessen some pain? Yes. Take these as a package deal:
- Remember that you are not the first to go through a divorce and will not be the last. This too shall pass.
- Turn to God sincerely for help (perhaps for the first time in your life—that’s all right, God is perfectly forgiving and patient; He won’t chastise you for ignoring Him for so long, He will be glad you’ve come around and be glad to help you).
- Don’t be afraid or too proud in this low time in your life (perhaps your lowest) to lean on those who love you. They will be honored and relieved that they can be a help to you.
- Reassess, recalibrate, and correct your values, beliefs, and world view. I’m not suggesting you delude yourself, but suggest just the opposite. Discover your misperceptions of what is true, what is fair, and where true joy is found, so that those misperceptions don’t blind, deceive, or confuse you anymore.
- Own your faults and flaws. Resolve to be better.
- If you have chronic or serious character defects, addictions, or mental/emotional health problems (or develop them in the course of the divorce process), seek professional help (good professional help).
- More concisely stated: allow yourself to mature in the hard times.
“If you’re going through hell, keep going”. The same hammer that shatters the glass forges the steel. This too shall pass.
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