Going through a divorce can be a difficult time for each and every family member, especially when children are involved.
While the term “winning a divorce” is common in popular culture, it can be a bit disingenuous and insensitive. Divorce is much more complicated than winning or losing.
The best all parties can do is work through it and hopefully come up with a solution that will be best for everyone involved, difficult as that can be.
Here Are Reasons Why Winning a Divorce Isn’t a Good Thing
The Family Financial Effect
A big reason why you can’t “win” a divorce is the financial disruption for both spouses. You may hear people arguing that men or women have it better in a divorce scenario, but truth be told, all parties suffer financially as a result.
|Men||Most men experience a 10-40% drop in their standard of living in the period just following a divorce.|
|Women||Women generally suffer more than men financially after a divorce, which is most significant during the first year.|
|Children||Children have less time with parents and fewer opportunities for after school activities, and they suffer under the umbrella of their parents’ financial woes.|
Being a Parent at a Difficult Time
Because parents love their children, and children suffer in divorce scenarios, it’s hard to argue that any parent is winning the divorce. The importance of helping your children understand what’s going on and comforting them during the difficult time cannot be understated. When you’re going through a divorce, children – especially young children – can be very confused and heartbroken. They could also think the divorce is their fault.
Being present for your children during the divorce process is very important. In fact, you should always be thinking of their needs first. Do not make them the messenger for communication between you and your spouse. If you have feelings that need to be vented, find a therapist or a friend you can talk to, but don’t vent to your children. Don’t say negative things about your spouse in front of your child, making them feel they have to choose one parent over the other.
Child Custody, Support, and Division of Property
In a divorce scenario, rarely do divorcing spouses end up with all the things they want. Things often get sticky when it comes to child custody, child support, and division of property. Compromises often have to be made. Rather than saying one spouse “wins” the divorce, it’s more accurate and preferable to say that both spouses walk away with a “balanced” settlement.
One example would be when one parent wins the custody battle but doesn’t end up receiving what they want in child support. In this case, and many others just like it, it’s very difficult to see who is the real “winner.” The more heated your divorce battle gets, the more you and your spouse suffer financially, and the more your children suffer.
Going to Court: Is It Necessary?
The institution of marriage has a reputation and it’s something like this: when you’re filing for divorce, you need to hire a lawyer and take your spouse to court. The images we see in popular culture suggest this; however, it is simply not the case. In fact, going to court usually causes more problems than it fixes.
As we mentioned earlier, it’s so important to remember the children and to do your best to keep their best interests in mind. When a divorce goes to court, it usually ends up stickier than it needs to be. It creates even more animosity between you and your spouse, and your children end up suffering worst of all. Is there a better way? We think so.
Mediation is the Way
Clearly, the most civilized discourse for divorce is that of mediation. Rather than taking the case to court to fight tooth and nail on every issue, we find that it is much more productive to sit the spouses down face-to-face to negotiate the best solution for all. Divorce is never easy for anyone, but together, we can work to make it as painless as possible.
Mediation is the best long-term solution for both parties to settle their disputes, and it can prevent either spouse from getting too emotional or hurtful. Every party involved in a mediation stands on a solid foundation of understanding. No one wants to “win” anything; but rather, all parties want the best solution for everyone.
Katie Tejada is a writer, editor, and former HR professional. She often covers developments in HR, business communication, recruiting, real estate, and finance, but also enjoys writing about travel, interiors and events.