The divorce rate in America is going down, according to 2018 figures by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The statistic is encouraging. However, societal trends may not reflect what is going on in your own life. Behind closed doors, many couples struggle. 

Even if your marriage shows none of the signs that predict divorce, you may be miserable. If you are contemplating divorce, you probably have numerous questions. 

How will it affect the children?  

Divorce can be very hard on the children, but you and your spouse can ease some of their pain by keeping conflict to a minimum. During the divorce process, you must focus on what is best for the children. You will need to agree on a custody arrangement and draft a parenting plan that provides structure and flexibility. 

In the future, as you and your spouse split your time with the children, you will need to remain civil to each other during exchanges. You and your spouse may have to accommodate other family members, too. The laws in North Carolina recognize grandparents’ visitation rights. 

What will happen financially? 

Each couple’s money situation is different, so each financial arrangement is too. If one of you is financially dependent on the other, a judge may award spousal support (alimony) for a limited time. Both parties should achieve financial independence eventually. 

Child support will also come into play until each child reaches the age of 18 or graduates high school. The formula for calculating child support includes both parents’ incomes, child-related expenses and parenting time, among other things. The amount may fluctuate over the years as circumstances change. 

What are my options? 

You do not need to be miserable in your marriage. However, divorce is not your only option. If you believe there is hope for your marriage to improve, counseling may help. If your spouse is willing to go, find a therapist you both feel comfortable with. If you still decide to part ways, the counselor can help you navigate the emotions of the split. In some cases, legal separation is preferable to divorce.