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Remember: Divorce is not about winning

When spouses do not get along, they often go into a divorce with the mindset that they want to take their soon-to-be-ex-spouse for everything they have. They might try to, essentially, win the divorce.

The pain and stress of ending an unhappy marriage can be a lot to endure, and it is common for spouses to disagree and dispute during a divorce. However, all divorcing spouses should remember: getting a divorce is not about winning or losing.

What is the legal purpose of divorce?

The purpose of a divorce is not to pit spouses against one another or cultivate animosity. The only purpose of a divorce is to end a marriage legally and help spouses construct their lives so that both of them can return to an independent life separate from their spouse. 

However, the words people use create the feeling of "winning" or "losing"

Regardless of a divorce's purpose to legally end a marriage on fair terms, it often does not feel like that. These feelings are only emphasized by the terms individuals use when discussing divorce. For example:

  • Many people use the terms "win" or "lose" when talking about their custody agreement;
  • Additionally, many people refer to a custody dispute as a "custody battle;" and
  • Many people also say they "won" alimony or spousal support, which can make the paying spouse feel like they "lost."   

Divorce is already one of the most emotionally stressful legal processes. Using these phrases in addition to feeling the complex emotions involved in a divorce is what can make spouses feel like it is possible to win or lose in their divorce.

It can be difficult to escape this mindset, but it is possible.

How can you avoid this mindset?

In 2018, Forbes published an article that agreed there are no winners in divorce. However, the article also provided ways individuals can avoid feeling like they lost by:

  • Planning for divorce in advance;
  • Focusing on what they can control;
  • Carefully considering how they approach the divorce; and
  • Thinking about the long-term effects of their decisions.

There is no doubt that divorce is one of the most stressful life experiences. However, considering the future can help individuals look at the big picture, instead of focusing on disputes and competition.

At Bowen Ten Cardani, PC, we know how stressful and complicated it can be to go through a divorce. But our attorneys can help Virginia families navigate divorce while protecting their best interests, no matter what.

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