Life After Divorce: What You Need to Know

Marriage can become a part a major part of a person’s identity.  As time passes, the marital family may expand to include children. The couple then assumes the roles of spouses and parents. They continue to combine their lives financially and emotionally. 

With more than 1.6 million marriages occurring in the United States each year, most couples believe the union will last forever. However, some spouses eventually seek a divorce. Oregon has nearly 15,000 divorces each year.

Marriages end for different reasons, including infidelity, lack of communication, or financial strain. For some spouses, the relationship ends because they outgrow each other. Although a couple tries to restore the bond, the marriage may be beyond repair. Then, the spouses may seek to dissolve the marriage. 

The court determines spousal support and property distribution in an Oregon divorce case. If the spouses have children, the judge also decides on child custody, support, and parenting time. Next,  the court enters a  judgment for the dissolution of the marriage. The judgment is a court order that outlines the terms of support, custody, visitation, and property and restores the spouses to unmarried status. 

A divorce ends a marriage, but life after a divorce can be a new beginning. It may take time to adjust to the new normal, but former spouses can take the necessary steps to make it a positive transition.

The first steps after divorce consist of following the instructions in the judgment of divorce. The order may direct the transfer of property titles and possession. The ex-spouses may need to close joint bank accounts and cancel credit cards.  

A spouse may need to return to the workforce or pursue education after a divorce. For spouses who were homemakers during the marriage, they may find it necessary to establish their careers and finances. It is an opportunity to gain further independence. 

Name changes may occur if one party carries the other spouse’s last name. A spouse can request a name change during the divorce process. If the judge approves, the divorce judgment states the new name. However, an ex-spouse may not decide to have a name change until after the divorce. Restoring or changing the name they carried during the marriage can help to establish an identity apart from the former spousal relationship 

Life post-divorce can cause a person to have mixed feelings. An ex-spouse can feel sad, angry, depressed, confused, relieved, happy, and peaceful, sometimes all at once. The process of ending a marriage can take an emotional toll on spouses. Divorce can feel like a loss that brings grief and fond memories.  Writing in a journal, confiding in a trusted loved one, or talking to a professional therapist are productive and healthy ways to address the emotions and move forward after ending the marriage.  

Dating after divorce cause hesitation, intimidation, and fear. Others may be eager to start a new relationship, which may cause them to move too quickly in the dating scene. Ending a marriage does not mean that a person immediately has to find a new partner. They should ensure they are ready to date again and pursue it for the right reasons. 

Divorced parents must also consider their children when they begin the date after the divorce. Whether they are a custodial or non-custodial parent, the person they date or enter into a relationship with will likely interact with their children at some time. When an Oregon court makes decisions regarding children, it must ensure that the rulings are in the child’s best interest. Parents must also do what is best for the safety and well-being of their children.  

Gray divorces may have matters to handle in addition to the emotions of the divorce, dating, and property distribution. A gray divorce occurs when adults 50 years old and older end their marriages They may have decades-long marriages or marry later in life. Many individuals over age 50 only have adult children. Following a divorce, they may face living alone for the first time in many years. In some cases, the former spouse was a major source of income and caretaking for the other spouse. Such divorce may occur during retirement age and when the spouse is on a fixed income. They may have health concerns that prevent them from independent living. 

People can have a fulfilling life after a divorce or gray divorce. Some setbacks may occur, but opportunities exist that can help to create a positive life post-divorce.

To schedule a consultation with one of our family law attorneys in Oregon or SW Washington, call us now at 503.222.9116 or write us.

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