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Expectations vs. Reality: Divorce Edition

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Expectations vs. Reality: Divorce

Books, movies, television shows, celebrity couples, and even our friends and family members that have gone through a divorce have created an image of what divorce is like. However, these expectations we've come to learn are rarely the same for when we actually undergo the process ourselves.

We think we know what a divorce is like...until it happens to us. Then we have to look at the situation and really accept that our expectations are not what we thought, and in reality, a divorce is a vastly different experience than what we've seen. Here are some common expectations that don't necessarily meet reality.


Expectation: I'd never get a divorce; I can work things out with my spouse.

Reality: There is always a possibility that you could end up divorced. Not every spouse is willing to put in the effort to make things work. Additionally, you may find that you no longer want to be married yourself. Maybe you don't see a future with your spouse anymore, and that's okay. Divorce isn't a bad thing. No good marriage ends in a divorce. So although you may not have expected things to end up this way, you are now open to a whole new world of possibilities.

The Divorce Timeline

Expectation: My spouse and I have an uncontested divorce, so the process shouldn't take long.

Reality: Not exactly... There is a mandatory waiting period for couples wishing to get divorced in California. Before the court finalizes your divorce, you must wait a minimum of six months. However, the family court system could further delay this depending on their schedule and whether there are backlogs of other cases before yours.

Going Through the Process

Expectation: My spouse and I won't let the divorce process turn ugly.

Reality: Even if you and your spouse are relatively reasonable people, you can never be sure how they will react in stressful situations like a divorce. The process can make the most rational of people do things they normally would never do. It's an emotional situation, no matter what your circumstances are, and it's easy to let your emotions drive your decisions in a divorce.

Parenting With Your Ex

Expectation: We won't let our differences affect how we co-parent.

Reality: Even if you and your spouse had never had issues with parenting your children, this could quickly change after a divorce. You both have different lives now, and your schedules may not always line up with each other. On top of this, you, your ex, and your kids will grow and evolve. What you may have known in the past may not necessarily work in the future. You'll have to adjust to these changes as they happen, and that may not be the easiest thing for either of you to do. Also, you may find that you didn't consider everything that could impact your co-parenting agreement when you first created it, that you must learn to navigate later.

Moving On

Expectation: I wanted to get a divorce so the healing process will be easy.

Reality: Even if you were the one to initiate the divorce, it could still be an emotional process to heal from. While you may feel relief over the end of your marriage at first, that doesn't always last. If you never really dealt with why you wanted a divorce and the emotions that fueled your decision, they can come back to haunt you. Maybe you'll even feel regret at times. Emotional setbacks will likely happen, and you might feel disheartened, but know that in time you will get through it, and it will get easier.

If you need help with your divorce or have questions about the process, please call Marmolejo Law, APC at (310) 736-2063 or contact our team online to speak to our Los Angeles divorce attorney today.

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