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When considering divorce many questions may arise.  Below you will find some of the most common questions and answers based on the latest research.

Is Divorce the Best Option for Me? Can Unhappy Marriages Become Happy Again?
Unhappy marriages can become happy again. More than half of unhappily married adults who “stuck it out” reported being happy with the same spouse five years later. Outside pressures such as unemployment or the death of a family member cause marital stress. Sometimes, the passage of time will relieve these pressures. Even couples that face communication problems, serious conflict, and infidelity can revitalize their marriages through counseling, marriage education classes, and self-help. However, abuse and addictions are special circumstances that may justify divorce.

How Might Divorce Financially Affect Me and My Family?
Divorce is expensive. Generally, women suffer more. One in five fall into poverty, and one in three lose their homes. Children spend less time with their parents, miss opportunities, are less likely to go to college, and have heath needs that are not met. Men suffer a 10–40% drop in their standard of living and lose earnings to child support. These costs spill over to communities in the form of less productive citizens, more crime, and increased public assistance.

How Might Divorce Affect My Children?
Although children can adapt well to divorce, not all do. On average, children from divorced homes are more likely to experience loneliness, emotional insecurity, illness, and substance abuse. They are generally more aggressive than their peers, more influenced by their peers, and have fewer good friendships. They are more prone to engage in early sexual activity and experience an unplanned pregnancy. These problems result in worse performance at school, including failure to graduate from high school and attend college. Some children also lose faith in their religion. These effects follow them into romantic relationships later in life; they are at least twice as likely to get divorced themselves.

How Might Divorce Affect Me?
Divorce does not usually lead to personal fulfillment and happiness. Overall, divorced individuals feel unhappy, lonely, depressed, and stressed. They have lower life expectancies and experience more serious illnesses. Many divorced individuals lose friendships and struggle to create a new social identity. Some find that spousal conflict increases following divorce, while others remain emotionally dependent on their former spouse, even years later.

Most divorced fathers are not regularly interacting with their children within several years following divorce. They also tend to drink more alcohol, putting them at risk for addiction, and substitute casual relationships for intimacy. Women suffer lower self-esteem. Spiritually, divorce tends to lead to less worship and a sense of spiritual guilt.

What are the Potential Consequences of a Divorce After a Long-Term Marriage?
Although divorce later in life is increasing, the couples, their adult children, and their grandchildren suffer lost relationships and stress. Divorce after a long-term marriage commonly causes emotional difficulty, financial hardship, lost friendships, depression, and identity crisis for women. Fathers frequently lose contact with their adult children and their grandchildren, especially when they remarry. Holidays and family rituals become strained. When parents divorce, adult children, especially daughters, struggle with the consequences.

Will Divorce Make me Happier?
For some, divorce does lead to happiness, but research indicates that is not the case for most adults.  There are so many factors that play into happiness that sometimes when emotions are high individuals may believe marriage is the source of all their problems.  A recent summary of research found that, compared to married individuals, divorced individuals had lower levels of happiness, more psychological distress, poorer self-concepts, and felt more alone.

What Should I Expect from the Legal Process?
The legal process of divorce is an emotionally and financially draining process.  Divorce laws vary from state to state, so it will be important for you to become familiar with your laws.  There are different options and the cost of a divorce may vary from a few hundred dollars to thousands.  The divorce process can be as quick as 30 days or up to several years depending on your circumstances.  Lawyers are not always needed, but if there are any differences in opinions in can be hard to divorce without the guidance of a lawyer.  If children are involved parents need to be their best selves for the children, despite the stresses and challenges.

How Common is Divorce and what Factors make Divorce more Likely?
In the United States, researchers estimate that 40%-50% of all first marriages will end in divorce, and the risk is even higher for second marriages.  The most common factors that are associated with higher risk of divorce include: marrying young, being less educated, earning less money, premarital cohabitation, premarital childbearing and pregnancy, having no religious affiliation, being insecure, and if your parents divorced.  Just because you fall into one of these categories does not mean you are destine to fail, but you should be aware of the risk and work extra hard on your marriage.

What is a Healthy Marriage?
Some may have incorrect assumptions about what makes for a healthy marriage, especially those who haven’t grown up seeing many healthy marriages. Although every couple’s relationship dynamics are a little different, there are characteristics that are commonly found in healthy relationships. The following ten characteristics of a healthy marriage come from the respected research organization Child Trends.

How Common is it to Think About Divorce?
Although the overall rates of divorce in the United States may have declined since the early 1980’s, there is still a large percentage of marriages that end in divorce.  A lot of divorce research has focused on struggles that lead to marital breakdown, but strangely, researchers know little about how people consider the option of divorce.   In a culture with high divorce rates and widespread concerns about the fragility of marriage, it is hard not to have some thoughts about divorce when problems and disappointments exist in the marriage.

One study by The National Divorce Decision-Making Project  that surveyed a large national sample of married individuals (ages 25-50) looked to gain more insight into how common it is to think about divorce, what the researchers called “divorce ideation.”  They explored answers to questions such as:  What are people thinking when they are thinking about divorce?  How often and how long have they been having thoughts about divorce?  Who do they talk to about their thoughts and feelings?  What marital problems are they facing? And how do they seek help? Here are some of the things that the researchers found.

Does Divorce Affect Boys and Girls Differently?
Couples who go through a divorce worry about their children. In addition to questions about child custody, visitation, and support, many concerned parents wonder how their divorce will affect their children for good or bad. Divorce can affect your child in different ways depending on many factors, including age and gender.  Here we will review what the research says about how divorce may affect boys verses girls. Along with that, we will focus on children from early childhood (3-13) and adolescence (14-19) and how parents can help their children cope with the negative effects of divorce. We will also suggest other resources that you can turn to if you have other questions on this topic.

Am I in an Abusive Relationship?
The answer to this question is not as straightforward as you might think, and many men and women are commonly confused by what does and does not constitute abuse. There are many kinds of abuse within domestic relationships and different levels of aggression. In this module, we will help you understand those differences.

Is Marriage Counseling a Good Option for me?
Many people consider getting counseling when they go through difficult times, such as a severe health problem, experience anxiety or depression, or even when adjusting to normal life transitions like the birth or death of a family member. Some research suggests that most people go to counseling to discuss their concerns with their relationships. Marriage counseling can be helpful when couples are experiencing difficult marital problems.