Can you write your own divorce? Do you really need a divorce attorney? People hire attorneys because they need help with something they do not feel comfortable doing themselves. Most of those getting divorced should retain legal counsel to protect their rights. We provide advice and counsel to educate our clients and propose courses of action. 

Our attorneys want to prevent mistakes because that is one way we provide value to our clients. It is up to our clients, not us, to decide what direction to take, but if they follow our advice, they reduce the risk of making errors we want them to avoid. 

Most divorce cases settle. For nearly all parties getting divorced, litigation consumes too much time, energy, emotion, and money. The resolution to your divorce will probably be an agreement that will impact you for the rest of your life. It must be in your best interests as much as possible. 

What Divorce Settlement Mistakes Can I Make? 

  1. Do Not Just Settle 

Divorce can create a lot of stress and you may want to put it behind you. We can do that depending on the circumstances and how well the parties cooperate. But the assets you have, any children involved, and the cooperation of your spouse, will all impact how long it will take to reach an agreement. Your spouse may use your urgency against you and propose unreasonable terms hoping you will quickly agree. 

  1. Tax Implications Are Not Considered 

Not all assets are alike, and there are tax implications to the equitable distribution of property. Some assets may be taxed higher than others, impacting their value. If you do not know about tax issues, you may agree to a property settlement that, after taxes, is worth significantly less than what your spouse will receive.  

  1. You Want to Keep the Marital Home. Can You Afford It? 

If you own a house or condo, keeping it may be a goal for many reasons. You may see it as worth giving up your rights to other property to attain it. Is this goal reasonable? Create a post-divorce budget.  

  • What will your expenses and income be?  
  • Will you be able to refinance the mortgage? If so, what will your payments be? If not, what is your Plan B? 
  • Will you be able to pay the utilities, mortgage, insurance, and taxes?  
  • Will you be able to set aside money to pay for future repairs and maintenance? 

Everyone needs a home, but will this one make you so property-rich and cash-poor that you will be forced to sell it after your divorce? 

  1. Your Spouse May Hide Assets 

A complete inventory of the parties’ marital assets is the foundation of fair, equitable property distribution. Do not agree to a settlement if you believe your spouse is dishonest and may be hiding assets. If there are ways he or she may be siphoning off or mislabeling assets, we can get to the bottom of it so we can have clear, reliable information about the property the two of you own. 

Contact Karen Ann Ulmer, P.C., today if you are thinking about getting divorced and have questions or if you have decided it is right for you and need legal representation.  

One benefit of divorcing your child’s parent is that there is no longer the pressure to maintain your marriage. But you should strive to get along well enough to co-parent your children. That is a much less demanding and intense relationship than being married. You do not have to keep up appearances, your kids should understand the situation, and it is much more of a working relationship. 

Sometimes Time Does Heals Wounds 

Here are three reasons from Psychology Today why your relationship could improve: 

  • If the person’s role in your life declines, long-standing frustrations may disappear. You will still be incompatible, but since you are less dependent on each other, those issues are less important.  
  • Over time and with life experiences, everyone changes, including you and your ex. The two of you may become better people who have an easier time getting along. 
  • Instead of seeing yourselves as trying to escape each other, you both see the common goal of raising happy, healthy, well-adjusted kids. You appreciate there are more benefits of cooperation than antagonizing each other.

Your relationship was bad enough not to be married. That does not mean that, as ex-spouses, you cannot work together to be good parents. Your bad marriage may have stressed the two of you out and distracted you so much that your parenting ability suffered. The two of you may be better parents post-divorce. 

Steps to Take to Improve the Relationship 

A divorce is a significant change in your life. The two of you will not instantly lock into doing, saying, and thinking things that will smooth out your relationship. Another Psychology Today article suggests some options:    

  • Be patient. Give each other some time and space to adjust. 
  • Keep your priorities straight: parenting happy and healthy kids, not settling scores or trying to run your ex’s life. 
  • Have a mature and respectful relationship with your ex. If you are still too upset to communicate, use a third party as a go-between.  
  • Lower the heat by refraining from accusations and keeping your voice under control. The past is over. Focus on the future. Look at this as a mature, business-like relationship whose purpose is to achieve goals. 
  • Do not use your kids as pawns in a mind game you want to play with your ex. It will hurt your relationships with your kids and ex. 
  • If you start a new relationship, do not rub it in your ex’s nose. Keep your new partner out of whatever disputes may arise with your ex. 
  • Do not put down your ex in front of others, especially your kids. Be an adult. Move on 

Do not allow uncomfortable feelings about your marriage to rule your life and make you and your ex less effective parents. Learn from the past and take steps now so everyone can have a better future. 

Get Help if the Situation Gets Out of Control 

Most divorced parents work it out and responsibly parent their kids. If your ex is not adjusting to the post-marriage reality and making you and your kids miserable, we can help. If you have any questions or want legal representation, please contact us here at Karen Ann Ulmer, P.C.  

Divorce is about change and moving from the marriage that dominated your life to a new chapter. You and your spouse were connected in many ways. Whether you are in the process of divorcing or it is already behind you, you must take steps to be more independent. This is especially true if you have a difficult spouse who may use information against you.  

Should you have keys to each other’s homes?  

Probably not. There are the occasional, genuinely friendly divorces, and you may want your ex to have a key to your home in case of an emergency (or you lose your keys). However, this is generally not a good idea because it creates the possibility of dangerous situations and stalking by someone with whom, in the past, you shared a deep connection. Even someone who seems to have taken the divorce well may harbor serious grudges that could play out in what you think is the security and privacy of your own home. 

Should I allow my ex in my home? 

If you are both parents and want to, at the very least, maintain the appearance of civility, you could allow the other parent to come in momentarily to pick up your kids. If the relationship has broken down, that can be done outside or at a neutral site.  

If you do not want them in your home, clearly communicate that. If they drop by just to annoy (or worse, threaten) you, document what is happening. You could also install security cameras because a picture is worth a thousand words. We could have a protective order put in place if needed. If they are threatening or stalking you, get the police involved. 

Should I change my passwords? 

Yes, especially if the app or website concerns financial matters. Creating a new email address may also be a good idea. If they know the email address you use, unless there is a two-step identification process, they may be able to change your password and lock you out of the account.  

Not only might your spouse access social media accounts and post embarrassing or spiteful content, they could also steal your money. You could lose your job if your ex, using your accounts, posts racist ramblings on LinkedIn or sends a resignation email to your boss. It is a mess you would rather prevent than try to clean up afterward.   

Should I get a new job? 

Many of us meet future spouses at work. We may marry business partners. This may have worked for a time, but keeping your professional and business lives separate during or after a divorce may be too much to ask. 

If you co-own a business, there should be an ownership agreement spelling out how one party can sell their interest to fellow owners or others. Leaving a job you love or one with a lot of potential may be necessary if it is impacting your performance.  

Should you or your ex leave? That is a discussion worth having. Your ex may be more willing and able to go than you, or this may become another test of will to see who can outlast the other (which could get very ugly). 

How many connections should I break? 

You may have any number of things in common. You may volunteer for the same charity, belong to the same religious organization, or like the same neighborhood restaurant. How far you need to go to move on in your life depends on you. Not everyone needs to reinvent their life, but you should make necessary changes to move on after a divorce.  

Contact Karen Ann Ulmer, PC, today if you are considering getting divorced and have questions or have decided it is right for you and need legal representation. If your ex is threatening or stalking you, we can also help you put that to an end. 

A divorce can be an emotionally difficult time. A supportive network of people can make it easier to manage and help you start your new life. Every team needs a qualified attorney and others who will provide you with emotional support and practical help. Here in Bucks County it can be helpful to have the following individuals on your team:  

Who Makes the Team? 

1. Your Attorney 

Your lawyer is the captain of your team, the trainer in your corner. There is no more critical teammate than the one guiding you through the legal process. It is our job to ensure your legal rights are protected and put you in the best possible position to start your new life. 

Without an attorney, or by retaining one who is learning while they work on your divorce, you could create massive problems for yourself and your kids now and in the future. This process is too complicated, and there is too much at stake to have no attorney, or the wrong one, on your team. 

2. Therapist or Counselor 

A divorce could be one of the most stressful events in your life. However, with the right team on your side, it need not be. A mental health professional can provide you with a confidential and safe space to talk about your feelings and work through your challenges. They can also offer strategies for managing stress and coping with difficult emotions.  

3. A Support Group 

Joining a support group of people who are also going through a divorce can help you connect to others who understand what you are going through. It may be a huge relief to know you are not the only one thinking your thoughts or feeling your emotions. They can support you emotionally and provide you with practical advice on how to handle current and future issues.  

4. A Divorce Coach 

Divorce coaching is part of the larger profession of life coaching. A divorce coach focuses on separation, divorce, and life after divorce. A good divorce coach can help you make sound decisions before, during, and after your divorce, set and achieve goals, and cope with this significant change in your life. 

5. Family and Friends 

Some friends and family members will be better at helping you than others. The better you know and trust the person, the more likely they will be helpful to you. Not everyone will be good in this role, so choose wisely.  

They should be someone you can turn to for emotional support and who will listen to you. Choose someone supportive and nonjudgmental and with whom you feel comfortable talking about your feelings and experiences. Someone who has also gone through a divorce may be particularly helpful.

If you have young children, someone who can help with childcare could greatly help. Having an attorney, divorce coach, support group, or therapist is great, but if you cannot meet with them because you do not have someone to look after your kids, they will not do you much good. 

The attorneys and staff at Karen Ann Ulmer, P.C., understand how difficult a divorce can be. We are privileged to have our clients rely on and depend on us during this critical time. They trust us with this life-changing event, and we work to earn that trust every day. 

If you rely on your spouse for health insurance and retirement benefits, losing them will be one of the costs of a divorce. There are also tax benefits to marriage that will end. But your losses may be lessened with planning and the right advice and preparation from your divorce attorney.

Health Insurance 

Most people get health insurance as a workplace benefit. The US Census estimates that in 2019, 55.4% of those with medical coverage got it through the workplace. If you currently work and are covered by your spouse, find out if your employer offers health insurance benefits, and if so, its benefits and costs. If you are looking for a new job after your marriage ends, these benefits may be a key to making a position attractive. 

If your spouse can get health insurance through their job, and you have children, it probably makes the most financial sense to have them covered by these benefits.  

The federal Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 (COBRA) changed the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), the Public Health Service Act, and the Internal Revenue Code to require group health plans to provide a temporary continuation in situations where it may otherwise end.  

If you were covered by your spouse’s medical benefits when you divorced, it could continue. But you will pay your entire premium (there will be no employer contribution), and it will not be available forever (it lasts up to 36 months). Because of its expense, COBRA coverage is often a “bridge” to your subsequent, more affordable health coverage. 

If coverage through your job is not an option, you should consider plans available through the Affordable Care Act (ACA or Obamacare) marketplace. If your income is low enough, you may qualify for a subsidy. Your cost will not be affected by pre-existing conditions, but the coverage’s quality,  your age, whether you are covering your children, and your location will impact the premium. You have 60 days from your divorce to enroll. If you miss that deadline, you must wait until the next open enrollment. 

Tax Breaks 

The impact on your taxes will vary. If your income is higher or equivalent to what your spouse earns, you will probably pay a higher tax rate after your divorce because married couples filing jointly usually pay fewer taxes. There is also a larger limit on charitable contributions. If you make substantially less than your spouse post-divorce, you may be in a lower tax bracket and pay less. 

If your divorce was finalized after December 31, 2018, and you pay alimony, you cannot deduct it from your income. If you collect alimony, it is not taxable income. Likewise, child support payments are not deductible and are not considered income for the parent obtaining the support. 

Retirement Benefits 

Retirement benefits like 401(k) accounts and pensions are generally considered marital property, so they could be equitably divided during the divorce. During the divorce process, all marital property is inventoried. A fair amount for each is negotiated by the parties or ordered by a judge after a trial. It is common that instead of retirement benefits being split up, they will stay with the spouse who earned them, while that party gives up an equivalent amount of other assets to make up for it. 

There are many moving parts to a divorce, and the number and size of those parts vary with each couple. Contact Karen Ann Ulmer, P.C., today because we are here to help you with a divorce. If you are considering getting divorced and have questions, or you have decided it is right for you and you need legal representation, call us today. 

Getting a divorce can be costly here in Bucks County, but you can make the best of what could be a bad situation. If your relationship is ending, you should not allow the cost of a divorce to prevent you from starting your new life. This is especially true if your spouse abuses you and wants to manipulate you through the process (driving up legal bills).  

How Much Will a Divorce Cost? 

In most cases, the cost will vary. Carefully read the costs and fees spelled out in our representation agreement before retaining us. There will be an upfront retainer (like a security deposit). You then will be charged hourly for our services and your costs will be drawn down from the retainer.  

There are also fees for filing legal documents, using experts, obtaining custody evaluations, and other costs. Most law firms bill their time in six-minute increments. Partners, associates, and paralegals bill at different rates. 

We disclose our costs early in the process, so there will be no surprises. Most of the fees are incurred when you need to appear in court. Courts are very busy and cases back up. Depending on the scheduling and how a day goes, we may spend a lot of time waiting. We also spend time preparing for the matter before going to court.  

Simplifying the Divorce Makes It More Affordable 

As your case’s complexity increases, so do the costs. That can come about in three ways: 

  • The facts are complicated  
  • One or both parties are combative and unreasonable 
  • A combination of the two 

We need a good grasp of your case’s issues and facts. That takes time which costs money. We may also need to hire an accountant if one or both parties own a business or substantial investments are involved. Relationships with children, who may have special needs, and how they should reconcile with the divorce may require the help of a child psychologist. 

The divorce will get costly if one or both spouses see the legal proceedings as another venue to drag the other through the mud and make their lives miserable. The more in dispute, the more time we spend: 

  • In court 
  • Writing letters 
  • Writing, responding to, and filing motions 
  • In meetings with clients 
  • On phone calls with opposing counsel 

We may also hire a mediator to try to get the parties to agree to put out the fire. In the worst-case scenario, the parties battle it out during a trial and then stretch the process further with appeals. 

Do the Homework 

You will save some money if you do a good job gathering and organizing evidence. The more complicated your financial and family lives, the more documents and evidence there will be. This can involve: 

  • Tax returns 
  • Bank records 
  • Investment accounts 
  • Retirement accounts 
  • Documents about a family-owned business 
  • Stock options 
  • Job benefits 
  • Titles to vehicles, real estate, and artwork 
  • Documents of a child’s school performance and physical, emotional, or psychological disabilities 

Our time costs you money. The more documents you obtain, the fewer we must try to find. The better you organize these records, the less time we must spend putting them together, and the less time it takes to review them. 

You May Qualify for a Flat Fee 

The simpler your lives, the lower your cost. If you have no assets, custody, or alimony issues and only need a simple divorce, you may only pay a flat fee (assuming nothing unexpected comes up. If it does, we will charge extra by the hour). This may be because you simply lack these issues or the two of you have a valid, comprehensive prenuptial agreement that neither of you challenges. 

No Matter What You Can Afford, We Can Answer Questions 

We understand our clients do not have limitless resources. If you are considering a divorce and want to learn more about what it may cost, contact Karen Ann Ulmer, P.C., today to see how we can help you. 

Equity in a home may be a married couple’s biggest asset. Before deciding what to do with the marital home in a divorce, you must find out how much that equity is and what the home would probably sell for if it was put on the market. Get professional help for this task. There is too much at stake to try to come up with some figures after a couple of hours of internet research. 

Why Does This Matter? 

The assets and debts of married couples are equitably divided in Pennsylvania divorce proceedings. If the couple has a house and a mortgage, who gets what is an essential part of the process. That starts with determining the home’s value and how much equity each party has.  

The home is usually a significant component of the overall agreement of how assets and debts are divided. If the parties cannot agree, assets and debts can be divided by a judge after a trial. This is the most time and resource-consuming way to resolve the issue, which is why it is the route of last resort if the parties cannot agree. 

This does not matter if the house is not marital property subject to division. It may have been owned by one spouse before marriage, though the other spouse may make a claim to its increase in value since the marriage began.  

The parties may also have a premarital or prenuptial agreement spelling out who will get the home in case there is a divorce or a formula to determine an amount. A prenup may also spell out the amount that one needs to pay to buy out the other’s interest. 

Another option is selling the house. After the mortgage, liens, taxes, and costs are paid, the profit left over is part of the cash the two of you will divide. 

What is Home Equity? 

Appraised Value – (Balance of Mortgages + Liens) = Home Equity 

The higher the appraised value and the lower the balances for your mortgage and liens (if you have any), the more home equity you have. The two of you should agree on a professional appraiser to determine the appraised value. Each of you could hire your own, and the result may or may not differ, but no matter the outcome, the cost is double that of just hiring one. 

Avoid a do-it-yourself appraisal. Unless you are a trained professional, you do not know what you are doing. Properties you think are comparable may not be, and you may miss properties that genuinely are similar. This approach could cost you far more than the money you save by not hiring an appraiser. If you are buying out your spouse, you may come up with an inaccurate value that is too high, or if you are the one receiving money or other assets, your figure may be too low. 

The spouse buying out the other should hire a home inspector. That extra pair of educated eyes could find hidden problems impacting the value. It is better to learn about them sooner than later. 

How Will I Pay to Purchase My Spouse’s Interest in the House? 

There are different options. If none are feasible, you will not be able to buy your spouse out. As much as you may want to keep the house, if you can not afford it, you must move on. 

The simplest way is to pay cash, but not many people have that much in reserve. You could refinance the mortgage, but interest rates are up, and qualifying may be difficult. You would pay off the existing mortgage balance through the refinance and use the equity to pay the other spouse. If your application is accepted, your monthly payment may be more than what you pay now. 

Another option might be that the other party will accept payments over time, and the property title changes after the last one is made. This will require a written contract, and both sides will want to protect their interests if, in the future, the paying party cannot afford full payments or complete the deal within the specified time frame. 

Because all marital assets are subject to equitable division, one way to buy out your spouse is to transfer or give up your claims to other assets. Read our blog article I Want to Buy My Spouse Out of the House for more information.

If you have any questions about what will happen with your home after a divorce or need legal representation, please contact us here at Karen Ann Ulmer, P.C. We can discuss how this may play out and how we can help you through the process. 

If you and your spouse are divorcing and you own a home, you have some options. If you want the property, you will need to pay your spouse for their equity share. One way to accomplish this is to trade assets or property as part of the divorce process.  

Splitting up your debts, assets, and possessions fairly and equitably will be part of your divorce. It can be very contentious, but ideally, the parties should consider this a business transaction. The two of you will start a new personal life, and to accomplish that, you will need to split your financial lives in a way you can both accept. 

You can reach a resolution or litigate the issue and have the judge decide. If that is where the case ends up, you will give up controlling the outcome, which will cost you more time, energy, and money.  

How Can I Make This Work? 

If you prefer to live in your marital home, you will need to pay your spouse for their ownership interest. 

Often during divorces, the spouses agree and disagree on a mix of assets. You could offer your spouse something that is clearly yours and give up your rights to assets that are contested. Consider the following scenarios: 

  • The two of you have $100,000 in home equity. To buy out your spouse’s $50,000 share, you could give up your $50,000 interest in a joint investment account or a 401k. 
  • You are claiming spousal support. You may give it up or reduce it in exchange for your spouse’s home equity.

Ideally, your spouse will be open to swapping assets to cover their home equity, and it will be enough to cover the whole amount. If that is not the case, you could pursue a cash-out finance but keep in mind the following:

  • You would refinance your mortgage, but in your name only. 
  • This is only an option if you qualify for the loan and can afford the new monthly payments, which will probably be higher than what the two of you now pay. You are also subject to the going loan rates, which are going up and down. 
  • If you are the sole owner, you must also be able to afford all the other costs that come with home ownership, such as taxes, utilities, maintenance, repairs, and insurance. 
  • The refinance gives you access to the home equity, which you can use to pay your spouse.

Given the number of divorces, this is nothing new for mortgage companies. However, if this is your first divorce, it is new to you. Refinancing a mortgage during a divorce will probably involve substantial potential financial liability, so this should not be decided upon quickly without advice from an attorney. 

What Could Be My Plan B? 

As much as you want the house, depending on your post-divorce income and assets, buying out your spouse could make you house-rich and money-poor. You may end up with not enough money to go anywhere or do anything, and being one major house repair away from living on credit cards. Your spouse could buy you out, or the two of you could sell the house and split the profit. The money you receive could be your down payment on a more affordable house.  

Who Will Own Your House is Just One of Many Issues 

If you are considering getting divorced and concerned about where you’ll live afterward, contact us here at Karen Ann Ulmer, P.C., so we can answer your questions and discuss how we can help you.   

The master in divorce is an experienced family law attorney appointed by the court who may help you and your spouse resolve your differences. Masters resolve contested divorce and annulment cases, including post-divorce alimony and equitable division of debts and assets. A divorce master will not provide legal advice or help you file for divorce.  

The master does most of the court’s work in a divorce case. This process aims to lessen the judges’ workload, resolve disagreements and prevent cases from going to trial. A master’s duties include conducting conferences to resolve the following issues: 

  • Equitable division, alimony changes, and child custody disputes 
  • Counsel fees, costs, and expenses 
  • Special relief and discovery (the process by which the parties exchange information, documents, and testimony before a trial)  

The master (the term “hearing officer” is used in the statute) can hear testimony and take evidence. 

How Does This Work? 

After discovery, the parties may agree on the division of your assets and debts, for example. If so, we will draft a settlement agreement outlining the agreement’s terms, file it with the court, and if all goes well, it will be part of the divorce decree. If we cannot reach an agreement, we can request a masters hearing, which may come four to six months later. 

Before the hearing, we will create a document for the court stating the relevant information in your case, including facts about you, your children, spouse, incomes, and assets. With it will be copies of relevant documents the parties exchanged during discovery. Your spouse and their attorney will do the same. The master will review both sides’ submissions before the hearing to understand the issues the two of you have resolved and those still in dispute. At the hearing, both spouses, their lawyers, and the master meet in a courthouse conference room.  

If the master feels the need, testimony would be taken to create a complete record of the relevant facts. If some facts are disputed, the master may use testimony to make credibility judgments about the parties and witnesses. 

The master makes recommendations to help the parties reach an agreement.  If you do so at the hearing, the agreement is read to a court reporter, who records it as a court transcript. The master sends the file to the judge, who signs the final decree. 

If there is no agreement at the hearing, the master writes a report with a statement of facts, conclusions of law, and a recommendation to resolve the issue. It is sent to the attorneys in the case. We would have 20 days to discuss and accept or reject it. We could also ask the master for a new hearing. If one or both sides disagree, the recommendation can be appealed, and a hearing with a judge will be requested. The judge will hear arguments on the exceptions at the hearing and issue a final decree. 

Get the Help You Need From Attorneys You Can Trust 

A divorce has many moving pieces. You can get into trouble if you do not understand how it all works together. A critical component is court procedures. You may have a strong case that should help you reach your goals, but if you do not know how the court system works, what you need to do, and who does what, you may fall far short.  

The attorneys at Karen Ann Ulmer, P.C., can answer your questions and represent you in your divorce so you will have the best chance possible for a positive outcome. Contact us today to see how we can help.   

Going through a divorce is one of the toughest experiences a person can have. This is true even when the divorce goes rather smoothly. The reason divorce is so difficult is intimately linked to our emotions.

Love is an emotional experience. But it can be hard to maintain a relationship and over time your emotions can move from love to hate or frustration with them. This then often leads to self-doubts about ourselves. Were we not good enough people for them? Were we not good enough people for love? Do we even deserve to find love again if we’ve messed it up this time?

Dealing with questions like these is a normal, though extremely difficult, facet of going through a divorce. All of these emotions can be mixed up and confusing, especially when there was physical or mental abuse present in the marriage.

That’s why divorce counseling exists. Today we’re gonna learn what divorce counseling is, the purpose it has, and what you can expect from a divorce counselor should you decide to visit one.

What Is Divorce Counseling?

There are many different types of counseling available for a variety of different reasons. Divorce counseling is the type we use to explore, understand, recognize, and then resolve the conflicts that have arisen due to the divorce.

As a type of psychotherapy, it focuses on discussion with a trained counselor. Depending on where in the divorce process you are, you may start at a different point in counseling. For those who are just considering divorce, divorce counseling might be an option to determine if a divorce is the right choice.

A safe space is provided for individuals to discuss the challenges that they face in the relationship and their emotions, as well as their feelings about their partner as well. Your counselor will likely have some tools they can offer you to help you better manage all the emotions you are dealing with as part of the process.

Divorce counseling can be pre-divorce or post-divorce. Each presents its own issues that can be worked through and counseling can help with both.

What Is the Purpose of Divorce Counseling?

The purpose of divorce counseling, first and foremost, is to help those who are considering divorce, going through a divorce, or those who’ve just finished a divorce to better cope with their emotions during and throughout this turbulent experience.

It’s impossible to overstate how emotionally charged divorces are. Countless studies have shown that divorces bring up a range of negative emotions, even when separating from each other is the right choice to make.

The reason makes sense when you break it down. When we get married, we promise ourselves to each other until death does us part. But divorce is not death. It might be the right choice because the relationship is toxic, but it still represents a failure of the original stated goal. This can leave a lot of confusing feelings. We wonder if it was our fault or theirs. We wonder if we can ever get married again if our word, our vows, turned out not to be true.

There is an incredible amount of self-doubt involved in a divorce. This self-doubt may be mixed with anger and resentment but it is often a source of that anger and resentment rather than a separate emotional experience to it. When all sorts of emotions like these get mixed together, it can make it impossible to move forward with a divorce in a reasonable manner.

By meeting with a divorce counselor you are taking a proactive step in untangling this emotional web. As a result, you will build better tools for managing your anger, resentment, and self-doubt. These in turn can allow you to react with more calm and thoughtfulness during the divorce proceedings. Rather than just arguing and fighting because of all those pent-up emotions, you can develop the tools that allow you to deal with the situation in a healthy manner, one that allows the proceedings to move forward smoother and thus finish up quicker.

How Does Divorce Counseling Work in Practice?

Divorce counseling can be quite varied in practice. Some divorce counselors may work in a private practice while others work at a counseling center and still others only practice online. These will all function differently in the minutia, such as arriving at the practice and checking in with the receptionist or logging onto a designated website or video conferencing program.

However, the actual meetings will follow a much similar format. Your counselor will want to meet with you to get an understanding of the reasons behind the divorce. This will also allow them to get a much better sense of the situation, not just the divorce itself but where each party lies in terms of their emotions and rationalizations.

This will be done through discussion and conversation. But the conversation can actually be much broader than people expect. A divorce counselor wants more than to just help with the divorce. They want to provide you with tools and resources that will allow you to heal and grow into a stronger individual. To this end, they may teach coping skills for dealing with your emotions or offer self-care advice for individuals whose emotions make it hard for them to care for themselves. They can also help you in developing a new plan for your life now that you are going forward on your own again.

How Can I Tell If I Need Divorce Counseling?

If you are having a difficult time with the divorce then divorce counseling could help. But it may be hard to tell because everything is so stressful.

That stress is a sign that you could use counseling. Other signs include:

  • Irritability
  • Lack of appetite
  • Lack of personal hygiene
  • Destructive tendencies
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Random crying fits
  • A reliance on drugs and alcohol

These are just a few of the signs. If you are going through a divorce, chances are good that you could benefit from divorce counseling. At the very least, it is worth reaching out to a divorce counselor to ask their opinion.