Legal Options for Getting a Divorce
If you truly desire to go through a Christian Divorce, you have several options to consider. They are:
- Litigation. This is where you and your spouse secure legal counsel and the battle begins. This option requires you to assume a fighting position and typically continues with court motions until one spouse is sufficiently exhausted physically, financially and emotionally. Litigation is the most costly and least productive of all the options because it does not teach the parties how to come to resolution together.
- Mediation. Here a mediator is hired to assess the issues and come up with a win-win solution. The process is based upon understanding each other’s interests not just your positions.
- Collaboration is an increasingly popular option does require you both to hire an attorney. Unlike litigation, however, in this case the attorneys work together with their clients to bring results that both parties can be happy with. The collaborative process is the least expensive, both short- and long- term, because the parties come together and do not have their fate decided by a judge. It’s also ideal because it teaches you how to work out future conflict, saving both of you money in the future.
Staying Emotionally Healthy During the Divorce Process
Beyond the legalities of who gets and pays what, it’s important to devote time and resources to your emotional health when going through a divorce. Ask yourself these questions as you are going through the process to ensure that you will come out with your heart in tact:
Are you harboring any bitterness or unforgiveness toward your soon-to-be ex? Before you answer with a quick “no,” it’s helpful for you and for your children if you objectively evaluate your reactions and motives. If you do things like stick strictly with the custody schedule because you don’t want to give him any more time with the kids, you need to check your motives. In fact, here is a checklist to make sure that your heart is in the right place:Do you truly wish for your kids to not like your ex or anyone that is involved with him or her?
- Do you feel pangs of jealousy when you hear about what a great time your children had with your ex?
- Do you feel as if you need to compete to make sure your ex doesn’t ‘win’?
- Do you feel as if your ex ‘owes you’ for all you’ve done for him or her or for all that he or she has done to you?
- Do you talk repeatedly about your ex and shed him or her in a bad light to others?
- Do you get angry at others who still choose to be friendly with your ex?
Only an honest evaluation will begin to reveal the condition of your heart. If you choose to move forward carrying any form of bitterness, resentment, revenge or unforgiveness, it will only be a matter of time before your life as well as your children’s becomes infected by it while your ex-spouse moves forward.
How to Move Forward after Divorce
If you are already walking through the divorce process and are praying for light at the end of the tunnel, there is hope.
Here are the questions to ask yourself after your divorce is final. These are crucial to have clarity on before you consider entering a new relationship.
- Have I healed from the ending of my marriage?
- Have I sought wise counsel so that I can own the mistakes I made in the marriage?
- Have I forgiven my ex and myself?
- Am I able to talk to my children about my ex in a positive way?
- Am I planting the seeds of bitterness, resentment and a victim mentality in my children?
If you are unable to answer these questions positively, you still have healing to do. Many people believe (although most will never admit it) that another relationship is the answer. If they could just find someone who is… or who isn’t… who does… or who doesn’t… then all will be well. This simply isn’t true. If you are not healed and whole you bring more of your brokenness into another relationship.
If you are unwilling or unable to take the time and do the work to uncover all of the hidden treasures that still lie within your marriage it’s crucial that you receive wise counsel. A successful Christian Divorce requires a team. Your team should consist of a Christian Counselor to help heal the past, your pastor, an ethical legal team and supportive friends who will hold you accountable in all areas of your growth. And perhaps a support group for divorcees. Divorce Care is a popular and helpful source of these support groups. Look for a chapter in your area at https://www.divorcecare.org.
If you are going through a divorce and need help navigating the rough waters, email Kris@KrisReece.com. I’d be happy to connect with you to see if Divorce coaching is right for you.