From Kramer vs. Kramer to Marriage Story, you’re likely familiar with films about contested family breakups. As these movies artfully point out, everybody loses in a messy divorce with children.
Not only does the average contested divorce cost $15,000 or more per individual, but it can also take between four months and a year. The lost time, emotional distress, and pain of this process can feel overwhelming for adults.
It can also devastate children, leaving them feeling guilty, confused, anxious, and heartbroken. A contested divorce can also prolong a child’s adjustment to the changes taking place in their life.
Although not always possible, an uncontested divorce remains a much better solution for former spouses and their children. Keep reading for a full examination of why a peaceful split is easier for kids.
The Cost of Divorce
A divorce can be a costly event, especially if you and your former spouse can’t agree on how your separation should proceed. After all, divorce is technically a lawsuit where one spouse sues the other.
Not only will it cost you and your ex tens of thousands of dollars, but if a trial is required? You and your kids could get stuck in divorce limbo for 12 months or longer. Anxiety, fear, and worry can quickly mount.
What are some of the factors affecting the average cost of a divorce? They include:
- Whether the divorce is contested or uncontested
- Child custody
- Child evaluation
- Hourly rates for lawyers (as opposed to a retainer fee)
- Where the divorce gets filed (e.g., local filing fees)
As you can see, number one on this list remains whether the divorce is contested or uncontested.
Contested vs. Uncontested Divorce
What if you and your former spouse can come to a mutual agreement about most, if not all, things? Then, you could end up with $14,500 in savings per person.
In other words, an uncontested divorce can cost as little as $500 if you file the paperwork yourself. If you opt for a lawyer, you may never have to set foot in a courthouse. You’ll significantly shorten the amount of time it takes to receive a divorce, too.
Instead of fighting it out in court, use this saved time and money wisely. Establish a new life and provide for your children, emotionally and financially. Divorce can make kids feel as if their lives have gotten wholly uprooted.
Quickly establishing a new routine and a sense of normalcy will help them get used to these changes. It will also ensure a happier childhood with fewer long-term consequences.
What are some more ways to establish a “new” normal? Start by creating a custody calendar for co-parenting.
Emotional Benefits of an Amicable Breakup
Divorce is never easy. Adding children to the mix only makes a tough situation harder. Research shows there are two main ways that divorce can hurt kids:
- The painful split itself
- The loss of resources
An uncontested divorce can help mitigate both areas of harm. How? By keeping communications between former spouses constructive and healthy and by avoiding strained resources.
You and your ex should work hard to maintain a respectful, supportive relationship that focuses on your children. When parents do this, children benefit in countless ways.
An uncontested divorce will save you and your family plenty of heartache. It will also put both you and your co-parent in better financial positions to take care of your children.
What if you can come to an amicable understanding of the division of assets? What if you can calmly discuss child custody and support? Then, an uncontested divorce may prove your best option.
It will allow everyone to move on. All parties involved will be able to place their focus and energy on new routines. They’ll also have more time, money, and emotional resources to invest in their children.
Investing in Your Children’s Future
Besides lawyer’s fees and filing fees, divorce proceedings can also come with many other expenses that are easy to overlook. For example, there will be:
- Transportation costs
- Lost time at work
- Baby-sitting costs
- And more
By avoiding these added expenses, you’ll have more money available to invest in your children’s futures. In the process, you’ll also spare your children the anger, pain, and uncertainty associated with contested divorces.
Finally, you’ll provide an excellent role model. What do I mean? For starters, your children will see first hand how two mature adults can handle a difficult situation.
Situations Where an Uncontested Divorce with Children Won’t Work
What if you and your ex can’t agree on major issues such as custody and child support? Then, a contested divorce may be in order. A few other situations may warrant a contested divorce, too.
They include relationships where domestic violence is a factor. If you are the victim of domestic violence, seek the advice of an attorney right away. Don’t attempt to negotiate with an individual who has proven that they are capable of violence.
If you fear that your ex is abusing your children, this scenario also may call for a contested divorce. Depending on the circumstances surrounding your case, your children may even need to take the witness stand.
This type of situation can prove devastating for children on multiple levels. They often are made to feel as if they’re picking sides.
What’s more, they may feel emotions like guilt, frustration, and anger. Where a child’s safety is compromised, however, these dangers must be addressed.
Apart from extreme situations like these, parents should maintain a mature outlook. They should also attempt to work towards an amicable resolution.
Divorcing with Children
Divorce often makes kids feel as if their whole world has been turned upside down. No matter their ages, the experience can prove traumatic. Yet, staying in an unhealthy marriage for the sake of the children can leave even deeper scars.
How can you help your children through this challenging time? Above all else, kids need to know that you’ll both stay involved in their lives.
How an Amicable Breakup Can Help
After all, kids want to love both of their parents and enjoy the time that they have with them. An uncontested divorce can help you provide this support to your children.
Kids also want the fighting to stop. They want to see their parents get along.
They long for their parents to communicate directly with one another and not involve them. For example, passing messages back and forth through children can lead to serious stress.
Children also want their parents to say only kind things about one another. Otherwise, they may feel compelled to take sides.
Here are four tips to help you and your ex communicate effectively with one another during an amicable divorce.
Things to Consider During a Divorce with Children Involved
Remember, too, that many children blame themselves when a divorce happens. They may experience feelings of guilt and worry. Fortunately, by opting for an uncontested divorce, you can dramatically reduce your children’s pain.
If your situation warrants an uncontested divorce, do it. It will minimize the tension and turmoil that court proceedings create. Maintaining a working relationship with your ex can help kids experience less anguish and stress overall.
Few things harm children more than seeing their parents in conflict. (That’s why staying in an unhappy, unhealthy marriage can lead to more harm than good.)
During a breakup, it’s up to you and your ex to make your kids feel loved, valued, and safe. It’s also up to you both to practice good communication skills. Here are some more tips that can make the process of divorce with children go easier for everyone.
The Value of an Uncontested Divorce with Children
When parents go through a contested divorce, it can lead to severe financial strain. There’s also the potential for extended emotional turmoil.
Court proceedings take precedent over everything else. Children often feel as if they get lost in the mix.
Through an uncontested divorce, you can make your children the top priority (instead of lawyers and judged). An amicable divorce also allows you to present a united front and show restraint by being respectful of your ex.
An uncontested divorce allows your family to adjust to a new normal. Instead of spending countless months dealing with the uncertainty and worry associated with divorce limbo.
It allows you and your ex to make critical family decisions rather than putting them in the hands of lawyers and a family court judge. Contested divorce also permits you to keep a routine, which makes kids feel safer and more secure.
Getting a Divorce with Kids
Do you feel overwhelmed by the thought of divorce with children? Are you wondering where to start when it comes to creating a custody schedule, agreeing on child support, and more? First of all, it’s important to remember that you’re not alone.
Many other co-parents have already successfully navigated an amicable uncoupling. And they’ve done so to the benefit of their children.
The first step in the process? Developing a parenting plan that works for you and your ex.
How do you craft a document like this? Check out these criteria to help you get started on the road to an uncontested divorce with kids.