What to Know About Divorce Before Getting Married

A red paper heart that's split in half with two bandages taped over the two pieces.

While not something that would normally cross your mind, especially before even getting married, divorce is an important topic to give some thought to. Now, it’s not unusual for people to get married and divorced more than once in a lifetime. Hence, it makes sense to know what may by on the road ahead. Of course, you shouldn’t expect to get divorced, but you should at least be mentally prepared.

Knowing what could potentially happen will also help should your relationship go sour, and prevent escalation from a peaceful separation to a full-blown war. In addition, by taking a realistic perspective on the situation now, your judgment won’t be clouded by the psychological storm that may come later.

Divorce Does Not End Everything

Although divorce is defined as the legal end to a marriage, it is not the end of all that comes with marriage. Unless you move halfway across the world after a divorce, it’s likely that you’ll still encounter your partner, whether in physical or virtual reality. This is even truer if you share something together that cannot be immediately divided during the legal proceedings such as children, real estate, friends, or even an employer. Likewise, there are many problems that might not disappear as soon as you sign the papers. Because of this, it’s important to remain as civil as possible during a divorce and to end things in as peaceful of a manner as possible.

Emotions Will Run High

A man trying to comfort his wife during a fight.

Divorce is a huge point of transition and one that may feel like you’re taking a step back in life. Whether you love or hate your partner, you’re bound to be overwhelmed with emotion in the process. Even if you were the one to end the relationship, there will be moments of sadness, nostalgia, and regret. You may also feel scared, anxious, lost, and unprepared. Therefore, this is one of those moments where a strong support system is a must-have.

Prenups Don’t Solve Everything

A prenup is always a good idea, and it can make the divorce process easier, so don’t hesitate to get one. However, a prenup only covers certain aspects. For example, any assets (with some exceptions) acquired during or after your marriage will be considered shared property. Similarly, the case would be the same for any debt and bills. Until you and your partner finalize your divorce, one will bear all responsibility for the other. This includes any necessary medical care and treatment or financial dues. Prenups also cannot cover any issues regarding childcare, even if the children are already present before marriage.

Your Kids May Be OK

If children come into play, things undoubtedly can get complicated. In regards to who has custody of the kids, that may not be up to you, unless you and your partner can come to a consensus. Should your divorce go to court, the judge will always rule on what’s best for the children’s well-being. In general, both parents are expected to provide some level of support for their children.

Surprisingly, divorce may not be as traumatizing for children as one would think. It is the fights (if there are any) that seem to be the problem. Children who had divorced parents fared way better mentally than those who had married parents in perpetual conflict. So, it may be much better for everyone to not drag out the divorce process. Nevertheless, it is important to repeatedly check in with the kids even if they claim to be OK. They may not be aware of the impact the separation has on themselves.

Don’t Rush It

A young man and woman sitting on a couch at a therapy session and having a disagreement.

Most people take the time to make sure they’re ready to get married. You should do the same if you’re considering a separation or during the process of divorce. A regretful marriage is painful; a regretful divorce is even worse. This is why you shouldn’t make any decisions during a fit of emotion, especially anger. And when it comes to more serious steps, always consult your lawyer before taking them.

Divorce Shouldn’t Be a Deterrent

Weddings are expensive, but divorce can be even more expensive—and time-consuming. Obviously, divorce is not a happy topic and it shouldn’t be a deterrent to getting married, but thinking about it does serve its purpose. By understanding its complexity, you’ll be less likely to rush into things, be it marriage or separation. If you’re looking to prevent problems in the future, it may be smart to learn the signs of relationship troubles and take appropriate action at the beginning. For example, don’t consider a separation seriously until you’ve been through marriage counselling.

Having said that, every divorce is different. You should never use anyone’s story as a predictor of what’s to come. It could very well be that your divorce will take less time and stress than your “I dos!”

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