Everyone has heard the statistics: Half of all first marriages in the United States end in divorce. The success rate for second marriages is even lower. When people marry for the first time, they rarely think about the possibility of divorce. They make a commitment “til death do us part,” and they intend to honor that commitment. Why, then, do so many marriages end in divorce? There's no simple answer.
Some marriages end because the parties married when they were very young. As the parties matured, their hopes, dreams, and goals changed and moved in different directions. Some of these young people may have been expecting a baby and weren't ready for the hard work and commitment marriage demands. Other marriages end because one of the parties becomes emotionally involved with someone new. Long-term marriages may end when children grow up and move away, and the parents realize they've grown too far apart to have a marriage.
Some people think the U.S. divorce rate is so high because the laws of divorce make it too easy to get divorced. These folks must never have gone through a divorce; even under the best of circumstances, divorce is an emotionally upsetting process that brings with it many changes.
Other people think the high divorce rate results from changes in how people view making a commitment to marriage. Instead of gritting their teeth and hanging in there, people put themselves first and think more in terms of what they should be getting from marriage. If their expectations aren't met, they choose divorce.
Some marriages end when a victim of domestic violence finds the resources to safely escape an abusive partner. Domestic violence is a serious issue and states have enacted laws to help protect victims of domestic violence from further abuse. Public education over the last twenty years has emphasized that neither party to a relationship has the right to control the other with force or threats. Today, most people believe domestic violence is wrong and must not to be tolerated. More victims have access to supportive services, to safe shelter, to jobs, and, ultimately, to independence.
Whatever the reasons for the breakup, people do choose to divorce. Often, they make this choice with little or no knowledge of what lies ahead. However, it's hard to get information to couples contemplating divorce. Courts don't know about these divorcing couples until they file their papers with the court. Community divorce education programs provide helpful information, but divorcing couples don't always know about these programs.
You, too, may have precious little information about divorce. This book will take you through the entire process, from contemplation to implementation, with a lot of side trips into the little issues that may rear their heads along the way.
This book will be helpful if you're trying to decide whether to get a divorce, if you've made the decision and are about to begin, if you're in the middle of a divorce, or if the legal part of the divorce is over. It will help you handle being the person on the receiving end of divorce papers. It will also be useful if you're looking at a second (or third, or …) divorce.
Many judges and lawyers have a bias when it comes to the divorce process. They feel very strongly that litigation is rarely the right way to get divorced. It is usually contrary to your best interests to take your divorce to court and let a judge decide your disputes. It's extraordinarily expensive and seldom produces the results you were seeking. These judges and lawyers believe a negotiated settlement is the way to go. So, although this book will explain everything you need to know about the litigation process, it will emphasize staying in charge and making the decisions you'll have to live with once the divorce is done. It is much better to make those decisions yourselves than to have them imposed on you by a stranger, the judge.
Divorce is a painful and scary process. You can make it less scary by reading this book. If you can learn what's ahead and how to take care of yourself, you will reduce the pain. Knowledge is a powerful tool.
Read this book. Gain knowledge. Then move on to your new life.