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8 things to consider before filing for divorce

By NIDHI MATHUR
Last updated on: November 13, 2020 14:43 IST
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Divorce is the end of marital obligation, but not the end of parenting for the kids, points out Nidhi Mathur, Lawyer at United We Care.

Illustration: Uttam Ghosh/Rediff.com

It is often said that 'marriages are made in heaven'.

However, despite all the efforts and emotional investments, it is not always possible to remain blissfully married.

Sometimes, things go wrong and ideologies or the behaviour of one's partner makes a person feel unhappy with the relationship.

There are numerous family courts/mediation centres and relationship counselors that advise and help couples get back together harmoniously.

Circumstances and differences between partners can also become irreconcilable at times, in such case, they choose to opt for divorce.

However, divorce is anything, but a door that you can exit to leave your marriage.

There are numerous personal, social and legal aspects around it that one needs to be mindful of before taking the big step.

Before you get drawn into the legal battle, here are certain things that you need to keep in mind while getting through with the divorce process in a less complicated and acrimonious way.

1. There is no winner in a divorce case

Quite often we see people get into the divorce legalities with an aim to 'beat' the other partner in the court.

Honestly, divorce is simply a multi-faceted legal process to separate from the partner and there is rarely any winner in this battle.

Instead of focusing on 'win' the aim should be to separate without much troubles and losses.

For instance, if you plan to persist with a lengthy legal battle, then chances are that you will end up spending large sums of money on the court case.

If there are children involved, then it must be done in a way that causes minimum damage to their psychological and physical wellness.

2. Don't be hasty

Divorce is not just about partners going their separate ways.

There are numerous intricate and life altering decisions involved in the process.

One might need to sell a home or assets, face lifestyle changes, and other things.

Sometimes, in a hurry to get through, a person might ignore certain details and end up suffering adverse consequences later.

Hence, it is of utmost importance that no decision is made in hurry and no details are glossed over.

3. Children

Divorce is an outcome of disagreements between husband and wife. However, children are likely to be equally emotional about both parents.

The bitterness of the divorce process can trickle over to their lives and seeing the parents fight during the proceedings may leave them emotionally shattered.

Even when you are getting through the steps, focus on insulating the children from arguments and avoid using foul language about your spouse in front of them.

After the divorce, children continue to remain connected with both parents in most cases. It is important that you don't damage the healthy bond.

Divorce is the end of marital obligation between the two, but not the end of parenting for their kids. Both parties should understand their rights and liabilities will not severed by severance of their relationship.

4. Everything you hear from others isn't true

There could be friends and relatives who might have undergone divorce and are likely to chip in with their inputs on how the process should be.

However, more often than not the information shared by them may be wrong or irrelevant or even specific to their own case.

People have different reasons for divorce and the approach to resolving the issue may also be different.

There is no reason why something that worked for a friend will be helpful to you too. Instead of trusting such advice, you should go for professional support from lawyers, psychological experts/marriage counselors or financial advisors.

Nowadays, there are expert online platforms which offer a complete range of support and expert support on divorce and related topics.

This can be helpful in getting all the information and guidance that you need without stepping out of your home.

5. Future planning is important

Divorce is caused by bad experiences, bitterness or disappointment -- in many cases, it is also a mutual decision to go separate ways.

The reason you opt for divorce is to put all that behind and move towards a better future. Therefore, it is important to stop obsessing about what all went wrong.

You have to make decisions that will help you live a better and dignified life ahead.

Instead of being nasty, angry or revengeful, the better option is to work things in tandem with your spouse and achieve the best possible outcomes for yourself, your family and other stakeholders.

Sometimes emotional baggage can make people fight over petty things such as who inherits a particular piece of furniture.

Depending on who had bought that article could make the fight continue, but this sort of approach will only make you spend more time and money on things that shouldn't ideally get that much focus.

Look at the bigger picture and resolve issues to achieve that objective.

6. Seek alternatives to court battles

Court proceedings and divorce battles are not as swift or harmonious as they might appear. There are numerous court dates, expenses, processes and procedures to take care of.

Even then the lack of agreement on various matters can further drag the process on.

In the end, the partners are likely to end up spending years and large sums of money before being granted the divorce.

You must try and consider alternatives to court.

For instance, estranged couples can approach mediators who are specially trained to handle such matters. They enable discussions and support both partners into working out a middle path.

The mutual approach is best suited for cases where things like physical violence, financial frauds and other criminal matters are not connected with the divorce.

At the same time, if one partner adopts a stubborn approach to matters such as division of assets or custody of children then court becomes the only option.

7. List your belongings and make copies of documents

Household items, personal belongings, documents, art works, furniture and other such material possessions can often take a lot of time and arguments to divide.

Sometimes, you might not realise these issues until you get down to the task.

Any doubts or arguments about dividing these belongings can be avoided by creating a detailed list of everything and their estimated value as well as the copies of important documents.

This should ideally be done before the start of the actual proceedings.

8. Honesty is the best policy

When things reach the divorce level, it is best to confide all the facts and scenarios to your lawyers.

This will help them prepare the right strategy and give you appropriate advice.

When you hide certain facts from lawyers, there are always chances that the truth would come out during the court proceedings. Hence, concealing facts could actually harm your own case.

Eventually, the purpose of seeking divorce is to move towards a better and peaceful life.

The process and associated legal proceedings could sometimes take a while. However, there are experts available on online counselling and legal advice platforms to holistically evaluate the various aspects and create a well-informed strategy.

This can help you move forward with the decision that is in your and your family’s best interests.

Nidhi Mathur is a Supreme Court and Delhi high court Lawyer with over 21 years of service supporting causes like children's education and women rights.

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