Things to Consider in Divorce for Women/Mothers: Don’t Allow Guilt to Affect Your Decisions
Uncontested Divorce Mediation
Posted February 19, 2020
Whether we walk down the aisle at a $20,000 church wedding or whisk off to Vegas for a quick but romantic ceremony, most of us do not take our marriage vows lightly.
Notably, at a time when people wait a little longer to get married, we don’t just marry for animal attraction, but friendship and companionship. Often, we marry our best friend.
And, though divorce rates continue to decline in recent years, it does happen. Divorce represents a time of difficulty and sadness for everyone. If the breakup also involves children, it becomes even more complicated and painful.
Why do women get divorced?
Not that long ago, most divorces took place due to abusive or dramatic circumstances. Judges would usually grant divorces for infidelity, severe substance abuse, or physical mistreatment. Four or five decades ago, it was rare to get a divorce granted for irreconcilable differences. Today, most divorces take place because couples grow apart. The person you married may become an entirely different person in the way of motivation or ideology. Or, perhaps you evolved, and they didn’t.
The stereotypical scenario of middle-aged men leaving their wives for younger women, does, of course, happen, but it represents a small sliver of why divorces occur. Today, women initiate nearly 70% of divorces. And, they don’t file for divorce due to infidelity or substance abuse. Usually, in an unsatisfying marriage, the china plates aren’t flying; in fact, arguing of any kind may not take place. Women want to divorce due to unhappiness. Some of the reasons women feel dissatisfied include the following:
- Though significant progress continues, gender equality remains unrealized. As with their careers, women don’t always feel like an equal partner in marriage.
- Many women seek independence to pursue their interests and goals.
- The younger generation of women demand more, but many wives filing for divorce today still experience an unequal division of labor when it comes to household chores and responsibilities. This unfair situation involving errands, cleaning, and possibly child rearing takes place even though the woman may also bring home the proverbial bacon.
So, though statistics show that men more often end non-marital relationships, women initiate the start of most divorces. And, though divorced women experience more happiness and contentment than divorced men, that happiness comes with complications along the way.
Women and guilt associated with divorce:
Both parties may experience guilt when facing divorce. A husband content with the status quo may blame himself for his shortcomings. But, the initiator of the breakup undergoes the bulk of the guilt.
Guilt represents a destructive emotion from the heart. It can affect us physically, mentally, and emotionally. In the case of divorce, even though we think or even know separation makes the most sense, guilt makes us feel like we become a bad person.
Ingrained in us since childhood, often through religion, feelings of guilt may continue due to the unsolicited opinions of parents, in-laws, siblings, and possibly some friends. We start to worry that we may experience regret after the divorce or do permanent damage to the psyche of our children.
When considering a divorce, you should think with your head and not with your heart and absolve yourself from guilt. Even if you participated in something that may warrant some guilt, such as an affair, you need to make amends and move on.
When divorcing, you need to plan for your future. Guilt leads us to make decisions, not in our best interest. Of course, reasonable people want fairness, but don’t let guilt make you give away the farm or the house. Divorce represents a time for clear and unemotional thinking.
Children represent a significant source of guilt for women when it comes to divorce. If handled properly, a so-called broken home may represent a better environment for children than one fraught with stress or even indifference or a lack of affection. Admittedly, the adjustment period makes for a challenging time for kids. So, what should you tell them?
- Make it clear to them that you and Dad will not get back together.
- Let them know they don’t need to take sides. They can love both parents
- Make sure they realize you and your spouse would never divorce them and that you both love them very much.
- And, speaking of guilt, children often feel they possess the blame for a divorce. Make sure they know they share no fault in the breakup whatsoever.
- Keep the discussions age-appropriate. Don’t assign blame to your ex or speak in negative terms. You, of course, should expect the same consideration from your ex as well.
In the past, women almost always received full custody of the children with a designated amount of child support. And, depending on the domestic situation, alimony too represented part of the picture. The father was given a few hours here and there during the week of visitation rights.
Fortunately, for the good of everyone, but mostly the children those days no longer exist. Women don’t automatically get custody as the courts consider different aspects of the child’s well-being, such as the following:
- The child’s physical and mental health
- Any history of violence or abuse demonstrated by either parent
- Each parent’s parental skills and willingness to parent
- An age-appropriate preference from the child
The judge will assign custody with the child’s welfare in mind. So, if you and your spouse agree to an uncontested divorce it usually behooves you to agree to file for either or in some cases both legal and physical joint custody. Legal custody deals with the decision making aspect of care. Joint legal custody means you would both maintain a say in what happens with your child’s education, healthcare, and religious upbringing. Joint physical custody would involve the child spending a relatively equal amount of time at each household. Joint physical custody sometimes becomes impossible due to logistics.
Joint custody usually works best for the children. Children thrive better with two parents, even in a divorced situation. Additionally, it allows each of the parents to explore new interests.
Knowing that joint custody often makes the most sense, the decision to pursue that route rather than insisting on full custody will save you from courtroom dramas and more conflict. If you do decide to file for full custody, you should prepare for a battle with documentation to prove your case.
Couples who agree divorce makes the most sense will most likely want the best for their children. More and more people turn to mediation services rather than attorneys to work out financial and custodial details.
Contact a Divorce Mediator in Chicago Today
We treat each person fairly and know that when children represent part of the picture, they take priority. If you want to skip the expense and tension of the courtroom, we invite you to contact us here. We can help you make this difficult time less challenging.
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180 North Stetson Avenue #3500
Chicago, IL 60601