While some marriages blow up because of infidelity, irresponsible spending, addiction or other major issues, it doesn’t always work this way. Some marriages just end because spouses are no longer right for each other. We all grow and change as we age, and couples don’t always grow in the same direction.
In some ways, these marriages of quiet irreconcilable differences are more difficult to end than marriages where there is a clear cause for divorce. If you are in a marriage in which you hesitate despite knowing that there isn’t a future, you might be worried about how the divorce would play out. Will it be highly acrimonious? Will it be unbelievably expensive? Will it be a drawn-out legal battle? While these types of divorces are a possibility, they are not fated. In fact, if you and your spouse are able to negotiate peacefully, you can have a relatively quick, affordable and low-stress divorce.
Going in with the right mindset
Divorce is not a battle, which means that it should not be approached in a spirit of anger or vengeance. It is not productive for either side, and both parties end up getting hurt (financially as well as emotionally). Nor should divorce be treated like a game to be won or lost. Instead, it’s good to approach divorce as a series of negotiations meant to benefit both sides in roughly equal measure.
There are options, such as mediation, that can facilitate a more cooperative divorce process. But even if you choose litigation, it doesn’t need to be acrimonious. As long as you and your spouse are willing to negotiate in good faith, you can make progress relatively quickly.
What about the costs, or the outcome of property division?
Whether you have significant assets or a more modest estate, you may be worried about your spouse getting an unequally large share in the property settlement. This is something to pay attention to, but not necessarily something to worry about. First of all, Georgia is what’s known as an “equitable distribution” state, meaning that couples must divide marital assets equitably. This isn’t the same thing as dividing assets perfectly in half, but it is often close.
Second, if you work with the right attorney, you will have an experienced legal advocate looking out for your best interests in all aspects of the divorce, including property division. He or she will help you pursue the assets that are most valuable to you, carefully value all assets and consider factors that could impact long-term value (such as taxes and depreciation).
As for the overall costs of divorce, these are often contingent on the efficiency of the process. The more cooperative and civil both spouses can be, the faster (and less expensive) the process is.
If you’re in a marriage of quiet irreconcilable differences, it can be scary to risk the life you know for the uncertain chance at something better. But if you’re hesitating due to practical and financial concerns, please consider discussing your options with an attorney to get a better sense of how smooth the process can be.