David Prado

10 Things No One Ever Tells You About Getting Divorced

Ad failed to load

Divorce is a tricky business. It's complicated to divide up what was a melded, combined life into two distinctly separate lives. It's even more complicated if you have complex assets or, of course, kids together. You might think that you know some things about divorce already, before you go through the process yourself. Your friends have told you that it's exhausting and expensive; that things might not go just as you think they will. That being said, there are plenty of things no one ever tells you about getting divorced as well, things that you don't realize even factor into the equation until after you've experienced them yourself, or you've convinced a friend or family member to be especially honest about their own experiences.

From what happens to your bank accounts and health insurance, to knowing when you should file and how long the process will take, even if you're both on the best of terms, there's a lot you probably don't know about divorce. Divorce can be difficult no matter how much you think that you and your partner will be able to get along and play nice throughout the process. Both of your individual lives and the lives of your kids will all change once it's all said and done (and sooner than that if you and your partner separate before making it official).

If you and your partner are discussing getting divorced, here are some things to consider that you probably have not yet added to your checklist.

Ad failed to load

1What Happens With Health Insurance

Hush Naidoo/Unsplash

If you never thought about what would happen to your health insurance after a divorce, it can actually be a bigger issue than you may have thought. "A lot of people are covered by a spouse’s health insurance plan through an employer and once you are divorced you can no longer be on that plan. Certain plans are subject to COBRA provisions, so you would get to keep the coverage and pay on the basis of COBRA, but not all plans are," Elysa Greenblatt, owner at Greenblatt Law, tells Romper. If your plan doesn't fall under that category, you could end up having to purchase private insurance in order to stay covered. Not only would that be an inconvenience, but a huge financial undertaking.

2Individual Accounts Might Not Be So Individual

rawpixel.com/Unsplash

While you might think that any individual bank accounts the two of you have will simplify things and make it easy for you both to separate and keep those accounts that are in your name, it doesn't actually quite work that way in practice. "Even if you have all of your accounts and you just keep everything in your own name, that doesn’t mean that it’s yours in the divorce," Greenblatt says. "So we have clients come in all the time who say, ‘you know, we have nothing together. I have my own accounts, he has his own accounts and so there’s nothing to do here.’ But that’s actually not true under the law," and this can vary by state.

You might not have to split them evenly in the case of divorce, however. "Here in New York, there are arguments you can make not to split things if you’ve kept them in your own name, like you never had a real financial partnership because you kept your finances separately," Greenblatt adds. So while it's not a sure thing that you'll have to share your personal accounts, it's also kind of a gamble in many states because there's no assurance that you'll be able to keep your personal accounts separately either.

3Your Child Might Have A Lawyer Appointed To Them

Ben White/Unsplash

A divorce between you and your partner means, at most, two lawyers, right? Not exactly. As Greenblatt explains, in New York (for example), a judge might appoint an attorney for your child if there's a contested custody case. "[A]s a parent, you don’t think about the fact that you could have this person appointed, this person could be totally against your position, and you still have to pay for it," she says.

Ad failed to load

4You'll Still Be Family

Christin Hume/Unsplash

If you don't have kids, you might not need to spend as much time with your ex-partner in the future, but if you do have kids, you'll likely have to deal with them in some capacity for much of the rest of your life. "[Y]ou think you’re done with your ex, but if you have children, this is so not true," family and divorce attorney mediator and attorney Eileen Coen of Eileen Coen Mediation tells Romper. "Marriage might be temporary, but divorce is forever. You’re always gonna be your children’s parents." So don't expect that you can avoid your ex forever — there will be countless occasion for the two of you to cross paths again.

5It Can Be More Expensive Than You Even Realize

Josefa nDiaz/Unsplash

You likely are well-aware that divorce can be an expensive process, but it could actually be even more expensive than you thought you were prepared for going into it. Gabriella Formosa, an associate at Greenblatt Law, notes that counsel fees can really pile up. "The spouse who doesn’t have any money and expects that his or her spouse that has money will be paying, a lot of times, people think, ‘well, my spouse has all the money so my spouse is gonna pay my fees, I won’t have to worry about it,'" Greenblatt adds. "That’s not usually the case. You’re gonna have to come up with money up front to pay a lawyer in most circumstances and even if you get attorney fees, it usually doesn’t cover everything." So you might actually have to cough up more cash than you thought you would.

6Filing Early Is Beneficial

Olu Eletu/Unsplash

It's important to take into consideration when you should file for divorce. Greenblatt says, "Here in New York, when you file, you get what’s called a cut-off date and so any property that’s acquired after that isn’t marital." That means that while you might be separated for a long time before actually filing divorce papers, you could potentially end up having to split whatever you buy or get after moving out. Waiting to file (if you know for sure that you will) could end up hurting you or your partner and your family in the long-run.

Ad failed to load

7Your Retirement Fund Might Not Be Yours To Keep

Lukas Blazek/Unsplash

You likely share a lot of things, from car insurance to family phone plans. Coen notes, "there’s a lot of administrative things to take care of, to disentangle financially, and to take care of yourselves."

Beyond those mundane tasks, there's also the matter of your retirement plans. Though you might think that your retirement plan is solely yours, it might not be. "It’s marital, whatever portion you’ve earned during your marriage, and there is a way to transfer funds from your retirement plan from one spouse to another on divorce without taxes and penalty," Coen says. It'll have to go into your partner's qualifying retirement plan, but it's doable and could end up happening during a divorce.

8It Can Take A Long Time

Nick Karvounis/Unsplash

While you might think that divorce is a swift process, in some cases, it takes longer than you think. "Many people think that they can just 'file for divorce,' however, the first process is usually 'discovery,'" attorney Jessica Markham tells Romper by email. "All the financial accounts and expenses must be 'discovered' in order to determine a division of assets and possibly alimony. Depending on the size of the estate and the level of complexity of assets, that can be a herculean task. If there are businesses, trusts, pensions or overseas investments, it can require not only attorneys, but CPAs, financial advisors, valuation experts, actuaries and other experts that the lay person would not contemplate."

All of that back and forth — and inclusion of so many other experts — can take a lot longer than a "simple" divorce. While not all divorces will be this complicated, it's good to have it in mind if you think yours might be more involved.

9You Might Lose Friends

Katie Treadway/Unsplash

Sadly enough, some of the friends that you assumed would stick by your side no matter what might not be so loyal when you're going through your divorce. "I have seen folks be blindsided by are how people they thought were their friends dropped them [or] began excluding them from social encounters," psychotherapist and divorce mediator Toni Coleman tells Romper by email. As if your divorce and changing family dynamic wasn't difficult enough, you might not have that support system that you thought you would.

Ad failed to load

10Divorce Isn't Fair

Niklas Hamann/Unsplash

While you and your partner probably just want to be and to get what's fair, unfortunately, it likely won't work out that way. There's no uniform set of standards as to what's fair and what isn't. "Divorce is not about justice, at all. There is no justice. It is really a way to — just like in every decision in life — figure out how to solve it in a way that you can live with," Coen says. "There’s nothing that’s perfect and you’re definitely not going to get paid back for something, or compensated for past wrongs — that doesn’t happen in a divorce. It just doesn’t." Focus on the future. It might not be fair, but it'll be over soon enough.

Check out Romper's new video series, Romper's Doula Diaries:

Watch full episodes of Romper's Doula Diaries on Facebook Watch.

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

10 Reasons Why I Won't Apologize For Giving My Toddler A Pacifier

My first child had no interest in a pacifier. I tried a couple times to get him to take one, but he always spat them out and gave me an incredulous, judgmental look. But my second? It was love at first suckle. And after a while, the incredulous, judg…
By Jamie Kenney

Being A Dog Parent Prepared Me For Having A Baby, Really

I’ve always wanted kids; I was never as sure about raising a puppy. Then I spent six months living with someone who brought home an eight-week-old golden retriever puppy, and I see no way to make it out of that experience claiming not to love dogs. I…
By Heather Caplan

20 Of The Most Popular Unisex Names Of All Time, That You'll Be Hearing More Of For Sure

You might think of unisex names as a fairly recent trend, but the truth is these versatile monikers have been commonly used throughout history (well, some more commonly than others). That's why the team over at Names.org recently compiled a list of t…
By Jacqueline Burt Cote

How To Have A Date Night With No Babysitter, Because It's Easier Than You Think

After having children, many couples feel that their love lives immediately go out the window, but it's so important to make your romantic life a priority so both you and your partner can be the best versions of yourselves you can be. As we all know, …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

9 Ways Baby No. 3 Made My Family Feel Complete

My husband and I decided to have another baby right after we got married and, well, we had no idea what we were getting into. I got pregnant right away, endured a high-risk pregnancy, and, before I knew it, my third baby had arrived. Together, we emb…
By Steph Montgomery

8 Stereotypes About New Dads That Are *Totally* True

Much like new mothers, new fathers have a lot on their plate. Parenting can be scary and complex, especially at first and regardless of your gender. People want to do right by their kids, after all. And since all new parents are a hot mess, dads are …
By Priscilla Blossom

8 Differences Between Being Pregnant In Your 20s Vs 30s, According To Science

Whether you're planning a pregnancy, or just thinking about your future family, it's typical to think about things like child-spacing, how many kids you want, and when to start trying to conceive. When making your pro/con list, you might also conside…
By Steph Montgomery

16 Moms Share Remedies For Their Most Intense Chocolate Cravings During Pregnancy

For better or worse, pregnancy is usually synonymous with odd cravings. Sure, there are the stereotypical combos like pickles and ice cream that plague gestating women the world over, but there are other mind-boggling combinations, too, including but…
By Candace Ganger

Putting Sunscreen On Your Kid Doesn't Have To Be A Fight — Here's How To Do It

I am almost translucent, so me and sunscreen are basically besties at this point. Even though my children are beautifully deep brown thanks to my husband's genetics, I still slather them like biscuits being buttered because I refuse to take risks wit…
By Cat Bowen

7 Things A Mom Really Means When She Says She Doesn't Want Anything On Mother's Day

Every year my family asks me what I want for Mother's Day, and every single year I tell them the same thing: Nothing. So, by now, they know that when I say "nothing" I absolutely do not mean "nothing." In fact, there are more than a few things a mom …
By Candace Ganger

19 Moms Share The Way They Cured Their Pregnancy Comfort Food Cravings

I was obnoxiously sick during the first trimester with, "lucky" for me, both of my pregnancies. For the first three months I lived on saltines, lemonade, and fresh bread. Once I was able to eat, however, all I wanted was savory and sweet comfort food…
By Dina Leygerman

8 Fascinating Facts About Babies Born In May, The Luckiest Month Of All

The height of all things fresh and springy, May is an excellent month to have a baby. It's a time of growth, graduations, and outdoor celebrations. And these fascinating facts about May babies will give you more reasons than ever to appreciate childr…
By Lindsay E. Mack

I Used To Judge Formula-Feeding Moms — Until I Became One

The other patrons in the hip Brooklyn restaurant probably couldn’t care less what I was feeding my baby, but I’ll always remember the shame I felt as I quickly mixed up his bottle of formula in front of them. I admitted to my childless friend that I …
By Katherine Martinelli

7 White Lies It’s Necessary To Tell To Keep Your Relationship Healthy

Telling lots of lies typically isn't associated with a healthy, strong, lasting relationship, and that's still certainly true, but not all lies are exactly the same. Though you've probably heard from someone at least once or twice that the lie they t…
By Lauren Schumacker

The Skinny Jeans That Saved Me Postpartum

Accepting my post-pregnancy body is hands-down one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. It’s something that I still work on every single day. During my first pregnancy, I was 20 years old, so I managed to bounce back quickly. In fact, I dropp…
By Allison Cooper

7 Ways Your Baby Is Trying To Say They Feel Safe

In those first weeks of new motherhood, it can feel like you need an interpreter for your newborn. With their limited means of communication, figuring out what message your baby is trying to get across to you can be a challenge. With time, however, y…
By Kimmie Fink

Here's Why Dogs Are Obsessed With Babies' Poop, According To Science

Most family dogs seem to understand babies, and they're more than happy to make friends with the newest member of the pack. It's adorable... for the most part and until you go to change your little one's diaper. Suddenly, you're wondering why dogs ar…
By Lindsay E. Mack

6 Signs You're Meant To Have A Big Age Gap Between Kids

There's a five year age difference between my two children, to the day. Their age gap wasn't planned but, for a variety of reasons, works well for our family. And since I was so focused on having a second baby, I totally overlooked the signs that wou…
By Candace Ganger

Here's How To Introduce Your Pet To Your Baby & Make Everything As Calm As Possible

Our home, which we lovingly refer to as “the funny farm,” is filled with four-legged family members. We have two crazy beagles and two cat jerks, and boy are they loved and spoiled. (As they should be.) But we are now finally having a baby of our own…
By Abi Berwager Schreier

Here's The Right Birth Method For You, According To Your Zodiac Sign

If you're pregnant, you've probably given childbirth some serious thought. Some moms-to-be prepare a meticulous birth plan, while others are comfortable just going with the flow. And me? Well, I made a plan... but that plan was useless when faced wit…
By Steph Montgomery

My Dog Knew I Was Pregnant Before My Family Did

Growing up, I was 100 percent sure I'd be a mom one day. To a dog, that is. My baby plans came later. And once my husband and I were sure we wanted both a dog and a baby, we'd add to our joint dog-and-baby name list over Sunday brunch or on date nigh…
By Melissa Mills
)}