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10 secrets your divorce attorney may never tell you

By Brad Rhoads

At Grace Marriage, we strive to bring you resources that will infuse grace and affection into your marriage as you strive to love one another well. At the same time, we want to be realistic about the state of a lot of marriages right now. 

As an attorney, I practiced family law for several years. During that time, I observed that the immediate struggles and litigation needs often took precedence over the long-term consequences of divorce. While I realize that all cases and situations are different, and, that we have Scripture from the Old and New Testaments against divorce, unfortunately, divorce is a very real reality for both Christian and non-Christian marriages in our world today.

I want to share ten realities of many divorces to raise awareness and to encourage deep thought and consideration before making this life-altering decision.



Watch the video interview: 10 secrets your divorce attorney may never tell you. [15 mins]

 


 

We know from the Old and New Testaments of Scripture that God hates divorce. Malachi 2:16 (NASB) says, "'For I hate divorce,' says the Lord, the God of Israel..." And, we read from Matthew 19:6 (ESV), "So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”

However, if you're reading this, odds are good that you're either struggling with divorce—or—you know someone who is. What you'll find in this post are ten realities of many divorces. My aim is to raise awareness and to encourage deep thought and consideration before making this life-altering decision.

Here are the ten realities of divorce I'll cover in this post.

Secret 1. Divorce is expensive.
Secret 2. You better like your lawyer.
Secret 3. Frustration of the next spouse.
Secret 4. Sharing your kids with a stranger.
Secret 5. Loss of time with your children.
Secret 6. Increased child challenges.
Secret 7. Your kids might blame themselves.
Secret 8. The consequences of divorce are long-term.
Secret 9. You might regret it.
Secret 10. It may not be necessary.



Secret 1. Divorce is expensive.

In marriage, you typically have one house, electric, cable and gas bill. When you divorce, all of a sudden there are two of all of them. This means the expenses almost double, but the income doesn’t. On top of that, you have attorneys’ fees and child support to pay. Divorce is not an easy thing to go through financially.

 

Secret 2. You better like your lawyer.

If children are involved, you often have a long-term relationship with your lawyer. I would tell my clients that I could end up being their lawyer for the next fifteen or twenty years. With visitation issues, child support and other issues, lawyers tend to stay involved long-term.

 

Secret 3. Frustration of the next spouse.

In most cases, especially when younger people divorce, re-marriage is a reality, and it often occurs much more quickly than you would think. More often than not, the former spouse doesn’t simply love the new spouse. This situation creates one difficult mix of emotions and frustrations.

 

Secret 4. Sharing your kids with a stranger.

If your spouse remarries and you have kids, it is really difficult accepting the reality that a stranger is helping raise your kids. Oftentimes, a step-parent spends more time with the children than the non-custodial parent. One former client shuddered at the thought of another guy kissing his daughter good night.

 

Secret 5. Loss of time with your children.

A painful reality of divorce is that you'll spend a lot less time with your children. Pre-divorce, you get to spend every night in the home with your kids. Post-divorce, with modern trends, it’ll likely be half that much.
 
 

Secret 6. Increased child challenges.

Divorce is really rough on kids in a multitude of ways. The family security of being with both mom and dad is removed. A friend of mine’s parents got divorced when he was ten. In his mid-twenties he told me, “Mom and dad went their own way and pursued their own happiness. I got to live out of a suitcase for eight years. It wasn’t my fault, but I am the one that paid the price.” Child behavior and emotions are negatively impacted by divorce.

 

Secret 7. Your kids might blame themselves.

In some cases, kids will blame themselves for the divorce. I know of a case where the mom left, and the kids blamed themselves. They felt like they should have gotten along better and helped her more. In reality, it wasn’t their fault at all. Now, counselors are trying to convince them that is true.

 

Secret 8. The consequences of divorce are long-term.

My father-in-law was one of the greatest men I have ever known. He got married young and divorced in his early twenties. There was one child from the first marriage. He later remarried and remained married for 54 years until his death.

He told me “I love my wife and my family, but my divorce impacts me every day of my life. People need to know there are long-term consequences of getting divorced.”

If you have children and then grandchildren, they take turns visiting their mom and their dad. Some holidays you get half of the time. Other holidays you don’t get any time. You really sacrifice a lot when you separate.

Recently, I had the privilege of watching a couple with adult children re-build their marriage from separation and divorce. This Christmas they saw their children and grandchildren….together. What a blessing!

 

Secret 9. You might regret it.

A Daily Mail article showed that fifty percent of people regret being divorced within two years after the divorce. Oftentimes Satan’s strategy is to get you to do something. Then, he enjoys saying, “now look what you’ve done.” 

 

Secret 10. It may not be necessary.

Couples who feel they have no hope can actually be restored to godly, thriving marriages. I know of a marriage intensive that sees couples who are on life-support. After intensive counseling together, eighty-five percent of the marriages survive. Whatever investment you make to try to save the marriage, it’ll be a lot less than the long-term costs of divorce. 
 

I realize there are situations of infidelity and abuse where divorce is necessary. However, many divorces are avoidable. When a couple is in marriage crisis, they have two very difficult options.

One, get divorced and experience some or all what I set forth above. Two, stay married and go through the hard work of working through issues and re-building a strong relationship. Option two can be hard for a season. Option one can be hard for the rest of your life.

Also, I am not ripping divorce attorneys. It is a tough job dealing with litigation, emotion, anger, custody, and brokenness. Domestic relations law is not an easy way to make a living. I have the utmost respect for family lawyers who care for their clients and provide high-level legal services.

 

Grace Marriage Mission.

Remember: Mercy triumphs over judgment and God’s grace is amazing and magnificent. So, if you've been divorced, serve God and thrive where you are—with zero condemnation (Rom. 8:1).

If you are not divorced, invest in your marriage, protect it, grow it, and we pray you never experience crisis or divorce. Maybe you or someone you know is struggling and contemplating divorce right now. Share this post with them to try to help them recognize the harsh realities that could come because of that decision. 

Second Corinthians 9:6 says, "Remember this: the person who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and the person who sows generously will also reap generously." So, sew generously in your marriage. Date. Enjoy sex. Talk a lot. Make time for one another. Protect the most important horizontal relationship you have in life. You will not regret it. After all, your marriage is pointing a watching world to God.

 


 

Brad Rhoads is co-founder of Grace Marriage.

 

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Tags: Money, Divorce, Ministry, Parenting, Faith, Relationship, Communication