Pros and Cons of Divorce: What Will You Gain or Lose during a Divorce?

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Typically, the end of a marriage is accompanied by so many varying emotions that it can be easy to lose sight of the end result. Outcomes can be unpredictable, especially in cases that involve litigation or a difficult mediation process. If you are still considering whether divorce is the right path to pursue, you may want to know what you stand to gain or to lose from the split. Is the stress of dissolving your marriage worth the final outcome

What are the advantages and disadvantages of finalizing your divorce? You can find out some of the top pros and cons of divorce below:

You have more freedom to do as you please.

After you were married, you had to check in with your spouse about even the smallest of decisions. Post-divorce, you are free to live your life the way you want to live it, whether that means selecting your favorite restaurant for dinner or planning your dream solo vacation. You gain the ability to spend your money however you like, and live wherever you want in whatever conditions you prefer. There is no longer the need to get permission from your spouse when you want to go out with friends or spend a night on the town.

Not only that, there are fewer holidays to remember. Without your spouse, you can forego an extra birthday celebration each year, ditch the anniversary traditions, and eliminate shopping for a Christmas present for your mother-in-law. Your freedom will know no bounds after your divorce is official.

You may find yourself happier than ever.

Living in a stressful environment can take a serious toll on your emotional and psychological health. Particularly in a situation that involves any kind of abuse, the long-term effects of managing that high-stress environment can be extremely detrimental to your health and outlook on life. When the stressors are removed from your environment, you may experience an increased amount of happiness, regardless of any of the negative repercussions of your divorce. Finding relief from tension and excessive arguing can do wonders for your overall wellbeing.

Your kids may benefit from the split.

In the same way that you may be suffering from the tension of your impending split, your kids will soak up that same toxic environment. Many couples try to keep the marriage alive so they will not disrupt the lives of their children. However, this misguided attempt can backfire. Maintaining a failing marriage can lead to an increase in arguments, tension, and stress throughout the household.

Over time, these circumstances can have the same impact on your children that they have on you. With a divorce in the works, your kids can benefit from the lack of stress and tension that is constantly within the home. They have the opportunity to learn how healthy communication works, even between people who are at odds with one another. As a result, they may find that their future communication skills have increased and that they are happier in the here and now.

Finances will be much tighter than they used to be.

No matter what your finances were like prior to divorce, it is pretty much a guarantee that they will be tighter afterward. After all, covering the cost of maintaining two separate households will be significantly more expensive than your shared marital home. You have to consider the cost of paying twice as much for your mortgage or rent and all of your utility bills. Even spousal or child support may not be enough to cover all of the bills.

After a divorce is finalized, many families slip below the poverty line, due to the onslaught of additional bills and expenses. You may be looking forward to your newfound freedom as a single person, but your finances could limit your ability to enjoy the life you have been dreaming of.

You will have more baggage when you start dating again.

A marriage may end for any number of reasons, but the one guarantee is that it undoubtedly leaves you with some emotional baggage. The items that you will carry with you into your newly single life will need to be dealt with, preferably before you start dating new partners. Emotional baggage from a previous marriage can make it more difficult to find someone. Everyone may not possess understanding or patience while you sort through the healing process. Particularly when there are children involved, baggage can make dating more difficult.

Responsibilities will be yours and yours alone.

When you lose your spouse, you also lose your helper. Maintaining your household becomes your sole responsibility, instead of a shared task split between the two of you. Having one less person to assist with regular chores or maintenance on the home, such as mowing the lawn or cleaning the bathroom, can create more work for you. All of the responsibilities within the home are now yours and yours alone.

Because you are now responsible for all everything that accompanies running your own home, you will have less time for rest. Your household work may require more time during the weekends or evenings that it used to. This change can also limit your ability to go out with friends and enjoy single life, just as your finances could.

The Ups and Downs of Divorce

It is easy to identify that there are a number of pros and cons of divorce, no matter what your unique situation may be. You can look forward to more freedom and happiness in a newly single lifestyle, but it will be balanced with more responsibilities and tighter finances. By knowing what you stand to gain or lose by finalizing your divorce in advance, you can begin to appropriately prepare.

Start processing the things that you are looking forward to doing on your own, and make a plan to relieve some of the stress in your life without your spouse. It is never too early to start  considering the pros and cons of an impending divorce.

Shawn Leamon, MBA, CDFA is the host of the “Divorce and Your Money Show” and Managing Partner of LaGrande Global, with offices in Dallas, New York and Hanover, New Hampshire.

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Shawn Leamon, MBA, CDFA

Dallas, Texas

Shawn C. H. Leamon is Managing Partner of LaGrande Global, a firm that helps successful families manage large financial transitions like divorce, inheritance and selling a business.

He earned his Bachelor of Arts from Dartmouth College, double majoring in Economics and Philosophy, and his Masters in Business Administration at Spain’s IE Business School.

Before founding LaGrande Global, Shawn helped manage $1.1 billion in client assets at Bernstein Global Wealth Management. He also worked as a credit research analyst at J.P. Morgan. He is a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst, and he has been an advisor to numerous high-stakes divorce cases.

Shawn is the author of two well-received finance books: Managing Private Wealth: Principles, and Divorce and Your Money: The No-Nonsense Guide, both published in 2016.

In his spare time, Shawn is an ultra-endurance athlete and has competed in events as long as 24 hours. He is an Eagle Scout and a member of the Alumni Board of Greenhill School.