When you realize that you are done trying to make your marriage work, you may decide to seek a divorce. Some people try to get this process over with as soon as possible, so they can move on. However, this is not always a good idea.
In North Carolina, you and your spouse must be separated for at least one year and one day before you can file for your absolute divorce, which is really just the formal dissolution of your marriage. However, you are eligible to file domestic claims for custody, child support, spousal support and equitable distribution as soon as you are physically separated. For issues like temporary custody and temporary support, you may even be able to file these while in the same house under certain circumstances. While it may be desirable to get these issues resolved as soon as possible, there are a few big reasons to take your time:
Getting a divorce is a big decision
The decision to get a divorce may have financial implications that will affect you for the rest of your life. The biggest mistake most people make is not taking the time to gather and review the financial documents they need to understand the agreements they are making.
Making decisions out of emotion can be dangerous, especially when it comes to property division and spousal support. A spouse may over-commit to things they cannot deliver in an effort to please the other spouse, or a spouse may feel pressured to accept less than they are legally entitled to because they believe this will help them win their spouse’s affection back. Years later, when the dust settles, a person who makes financial decisions out of emotion often regrets it.
When considering divorce, take time to carefully evaluate your current situation and how a divorce could affect your future and the future of your children. Seek and obtain qualified advice about how to achieve a fair property settlement and reasonable financial terms that will work best for your family.
You deserve time to work through your emotions
Everyone in your family will react differently to the news of your divorce – including you. It is common for individuals to experience a complicated mix of emotions before, during and after the process of their divorce. Many people – even if they are unhappy in their marriage – struggle with feelings of doubt when considering a divorce. Other emotions include:
- Symptoms of depression
- Anger and resentment at their spouse
- Sadness and grief for what they lost
- Even guilt, especially if they have children
Give yourself time to work through these emotions and let yourself feel them. This benefits your mental health and that of your family as well. Agreements regarding custody and financial issues need to contain important details and should account for issues that could come up in the future rather than just resolving present circumstances. Taking the time to process your emotions can help you have a clearer picture of what issues and details you need to make sure your agreements address.
Dividing your financial responsibilities and your assets as well as your parenting time requires time and careful thought. Don’t rush this process. You have too much to lose. Taking your time can help ensure you protect your best interests as well as those of your family.