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Life After Divorce Information

This community is dedicated to starting over after a divorce. With the marriage over, how do individuals begin a new chapter in their lives and what hurdles do they face?

Divorce is often one of the most traumatic periods in a person's life. Studies show it is the second-most stressful event in life, after the death of a spouse. Separation and Divorce is often associated with deep grief-based emotions over the loss of the desired-for relationship. Emotions may include sadness, lethargy, depression, anxiety, anger, and other emotions.

The emotional trauma can be exacerbated when the couples chooses an adversarial approach to the legal divorce, which itself adds additional stresses over and beyond the normal grieving. When in the anger-phase of grief, it can be tempting for a spouse to become adversarial, which can easily make things worse.

Divorce leads to the creation of two households rather than one, with consequent increased costs. All parties suffer these effects. As more women are awarded child custody, many of the roles and difficulties described below may be reversed, although men who are awarded custody have historically been less likely to be awarded child support or alimony.

Women often financially suffer as a result of divorce due to lower earning potential in many countries, and to their greater historical role in rearing children, and there may be some relationship between these two factors. They more often obtain exclusive custody of children after the divorce, reducing their ability to pursue high-paying employment. Child support collection can be quite difficult: some fathers feel that they only have an obligation towards their children and not their mother (who may have initiated an unwanted divorce), some may not want to meet their obligation towards their children, and others, while intending to meet their obligation may not be able to fulfill it. Many national and local governments provide some kind of welfare system for divorced mothers and their children.

It is important to note that divorce is the number one contributor to bankruptcy in the United States.

Men are also often victims of divorce, both financially and in other ways. Court-ordered alimony and child support can be beggaring, often pegged to large percentages of the higher-earning spouse's income. Such obligations can make it impossible for paying spouses to remarry, and if they do remarry, the law often puts the payor's prior obligations before his and his new family's needs. Groups such as Families Need Fathers claim that non-custodial spouses (more often men) are often blocked from access to their children.

Recent sociological studies have pointed to a variety of long-term economic, social, physical, and mental health consequences of divorce, although the full extent of such effects remains hotly debated. All the studies to date suffer from an inherent methodological weakness which researchers have not yet found a solution to: establishing the relevant baseline for comparisons. By definition, all divorces are of unhappy couples; meanwhile, those who do not divorce are some mix of happy couples and of unhappy ones who stayed married. Comparisons of life outcomes or well-being along the simple divorced/not divorced axis will therefore always show poorer outcomes for the group which is composed entirely of unhappy couples, demonstrating simply that being part of a happy couple is better than being part of an unhappy one.

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