If you decide that you want to ask for a divorce, your first instinct may be to talk to your friends or family members who have gone through it. You want to find out what it was like for them and learn what steps you should take. You want to know not only what mistakes to watch out for but how to get this process going.
It can help to talk to those who have done this before, but be very careful about taking direct advice from them. You can’t compare two divorce cases. They are all unique, depending on the specific facts of the case. Let’s consider come of those facts.
How long have you been married?
The first thing to think about is the duration of your marriage and your own age. If you’re 23 and trying to end a post-high-school marriage that you entered into when you were very young, that’s quite different than going through a gray divorce as you near retirement age.
For instance, with a gray divorce, you may have grown accustomed to the roles you and your spouse have: taking care of the house, paying the bills, bringing in an income, etc. It can feel very jarring to suddenly not have that. Younger couples may not have grown used to those roles and so the adjustment can feel easier.
Do you have children?
To be honest, this is one of the biggest differences from one case to the next. A friend who got married without kids may tell you that money is all that matters and that divorce happens quickly. While that may have been true for your friend, splitting up with children means you likely worry about your relationship with them more than money and it can drag the case on for longer as you sort out the child custody details.
How many joint assets do you have?
Splitting up assets can be difficult for the wealthy or for those who are not as well off. In some senses, it’s even more difficult for those who are not wealthy because there is less to go around and both people feel determined to get as much as they can.
Splitting up assets is often one of the most contentious parts of divorce. You may not agree on who owns which assets, when you purchased them, what values they have or other such key facts. This can take a long time and every case is different because no two people own the same exact things.
These are just three ways that each case looks unique, but you can clearly see why you need to understand your options and refrain from comparing your case with anyone else’s divorce.