Divorce As Process

The decision to divorce isn’t usually made easily or in haste. Among the many issues to consider are financial, social and psychological ones. Whenever children or illnesses are involved, the decision is even more difficult. But, for many people, divorce may be more of a years-long process than a single decision.

When infidelity puts the private lives of public figures and celebrities in the news, we can sometimes glimpse the stages of this process. For example, on January 27, 2010, People Magazine reported that John and Elizabeth Edwards are now legally separated. According to People, the divorce papers have been ready for nearly a year but Ms. Edwards has yet to finish the paperwork.

As we know from the public record, the process of the Ms. Edwards’ divorce started long before she asked an attorney to prepare the papers. Back in May 2009, Ms. Edwards came out with a best-selling book, “Resilience.” In the book, Ms. Edwards discussed why she chose to stay with her husband in 2006 after he admitted to being unfaithful. She seemed to have made peace with their situation. The recent announcement in People suggests, however, that their reconciliation came to a close when Ms. Edwards learned her husband had fathered a child with his mistress.

In my practice, I find many clients do try to make their broken marriages work. Some are successful in repairing their marriages through counseling, support groups and other resources. Others call me, several years after their initial contact with me, to tell me that now is the time. Their process is over and they have come to terms with the idea of divorcing.

If you find yourself in this unfortunate situation, whether or not you intend to get a divorce right away, talk to an attorney so that you can incorporate a realistic evaluation of what your rights and obligations may be if you do divorce.

Michael C. Craven

Michael C. Craven is a well-known divorce attorney and a partner of the Beermann Swerdlove, LLP law firm in the Chicago area. He is highly respected among other divorce lawyers, judges and his clients. He is also a CPA and a LLM (Masters in Tax Law). Click here to email Michael for additional information about his services.

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