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The Crucial Divorce Moment: Talking to Your Spouse

Monday, October 29th, 2018

Divorce is a tough topic of conversation, even with friends and family. It presents even more cumbersome challenges when faced with the prospect of speaking with your spouse about severing the bonds you made in matrimony. Is there any advice that can help someone who is faced with the prospect of divorce? Severing marital bonds is tough, especially when children are in the mix. Innocent lives will be forever changed both during and after a divorce. How can one rise to the challenge and protect those affected by the fallout? No easy answer exists but a path forward to peace and your childrens’ happiness does.

One piece of sage advice for those facing divorce is that patience is in fact very beneficial. It is ironic yet true that often life presents choices that are either difficult, or simple and ill-conceived. Divorce is no exception from that truism. It may be true that no one truly “wins” a divorce, but certainly someone will always get the shorter end of the stick. When considering the depth and breadth of college expenses, alimony, division of a marital estate, and all other support belonging to your children, the numbers and commas grow to the point of causing fear and severe anxiety in most divorce litigants. It simply comes with the territory.

Although this is no new topic to those who regularly read my blog, it is sufficiently crucial that those in failing marriages recognize the bare truth: having communication with your spouse is just as important as it was when you were dating. It is too easy to forget that a simple civil discussion can save not only thousands of dollars in attorney fees but the stress that accompanies prolonged litigation. Extensive litigation can be avoided in most cases if one is willing to swallow their pride and put animosity to the side. It is fully possible to be your own best advocate and to advance your cause without the involvement of attorneys.

The average cost of raising a child is now approximately a quarter of a million dollars according to Time Magazine. This figure excludes post high school education and related expenses and also does not include gifts and vehicle/transportation expenses. It always shocks me that non-custodial parents feel strongly adverse to forfeiting 14% of their take home pay for a single child’s support, 20% for two children, and 22% for three. It seems to be a drop in the bucket when considering the larger financial picture. I struggle to believe that custodial parents have it any easier.

Where does one begin the tough topic of divorce with their spouse? My best advice is to keep it simple and to avoid the emotional topics, at least initially. Make a solid attempt at agreeing to child support, health and life insurance, and visitation. If you are unable to get past those three crucial pillars of divorce, you may have no option but to fight for what is fair and just. However, be aware that Mississippi Chancellors are primarily concerned with the best interests of children. Seldom does a judge blatantly view only one side of the complex equation which is divorce.

If you are neck-deep in the divorce process and would like to attempt a no-fault resolution, let us know and we will gladly attempt to point you in the right direction. If you have already explored your options to the fullest and seek the intervention of the court, we are fully able to accomplish reasonable goals on behalf of our clients. It is up to you to take the first step.

Matthew Poole is a Jackson, Mississippi family attorney specializing in domestic conflict resolution. He was selected as a 2018 top 10 family lawyer by the National Association of Family Attorneys.