Getting a Divorce is stressful. Here are some articles to help.

Browse Articles on the topic of Getting a Divorce

Court Custody Order

How Can a Court Custody Order Be Changed?

To parents, one of the most important aspects of the divorce process is custody of the children. While most people do not go to court for divorce in the United States, for those who do, the final court custody order is often the divorce’s most contentious and important part. This order can give you the finality and stability of knowing the final, judge-determined custody plan. However, sometimes circumstances change, and you or your Ex might be in a position where you need to alter the original agreement. This article explores why and how you might change a final court custody order or modify a parenting agreement.

What is a Court Custody Order?

A court custody order is the final, judge-determined parenting agreement following a divorce. A custody order indicates that this agreement is the official, binding legal order. If your divorce went through a litigious court battle, the judge’s final decision likely contains the child custody order. However, you do not need to go through a fully contested proceeding for a final custody order. 

Most parents reach a parenting plan or custody agreement outside the court process through mutual consent or mediation (like in an uncontested divorce).

If your divorce avoided the in-court process, your agreement must still be approved by a judge. The judge has the final say on matters of divorce and child custody and will issue the final custody order.

To understand what keeps you out of court, read “What’s the Difference Between an Uncontested and Contested Divorce?”

Why might you want to change a court custody order or parenting agreement?

The original child custody order is not set in stone. It can be changed as needed. As time passes and life moves, there might come a time when the terms of the original custody order need to be altered. You cannot always predict how your needs, your Ex’s, or your child’s needs might change over time, or the fact that new issues may evolve.

While there is not a comprehensive list, there are many reasons why a parent might renegotiate a custody order. One parent might move out of the state or country, making the original parenting order impossible or improbable. Another possible reason is that your child’s needs might have changed as time passed. If there is a substantial change in your child’s emotional, mental, or physical needs, perhaps one parent is better equipped to handle these changes. In a similar vein, if one parent’s situation has changed in either a positive or negative way, it might call for a different custody arrangement moving forward. Other, less collaborative reasons to change an agreement might be if one parent is not following the terms of the original agreement or the child is in danger.

Each state has its standard for when a custody order can be changed. However, the general sentiment is that if there has been a substantial change of circumstances that impacts the child and it is in your child’s best interest, then final custody orders can be changed. The second half of the standard, determining what is in your child’s best interest, does not have a concrete definition. The court generally determines the best interest by weighing factors, including the children’s needs, geographic location, parents’ desires, children’s stability, etc.

How do you change a custody order?

Depending on your relationship with your Ex, your specific state’s rules, and the scale of the change, you might have different avenues to modify the custody agreement. 

Court Order

The court process is the most common way to change a child custody order. This can be done whether both parents agree a change is needed or if you alone are seeking a custody change. In some states, like Michigan, regardless of whether the change is mutually agreeable, you must file a motion to change custody with the court. You will file the motion (paperwork asking the court to change the current custody order) with the court, your Ex will receive a copy of the request, and a hearing in front of the judge will be set. At the hearing, you or your lawyer will present evidence and point out why the current custody order should be changed. The judge will then determine if/how the custody order should change.

Many states will require a judge to sign off on any and all parenting time changes. This means that even if you and your Ex agree on a change and sign a written statement of the changes outside of the courtroom, you still must submit it to the judge to officially change the order. Submitting a change can be advantageous even if your state does not require a judge to sign the mutually agreed upon change. If an issue ever arises down the line regarding parenting time, it is important for a judge to be up to date on the status of your custody arrangement.


Another possible way for co parents to change the final custody order is through post-judgment mediation. Post-judgment means it happens after the judge gives her final decision as to parenting time. Mediation might be a good option if you and your ex know you want to change the current order but might have differing views on how it should be changed. Additionally, some judges will refer co parents to mediation before the judge even hears the case in order to have the parties attempt to reach an agreement. If you come to an agreement through mediation, then a judge will likely agree with the modification. Mediation is often less expensive, time-consuming, and more collaborative than going through the court process again.

Understand your options with mediation regarding all things divorce related.  Check out “Why Choose Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) if You are Divorcing.”

Mutual Agreement

Some states allow mutual, written agreement as a basis for changing a custody order. This would be done through an understanding between you and your Ex. If this change is wanted and agreed upon by both parties, you can change the agreement outside of court. It’s great if you can work with the father* of your children when life circumstances have changed so that the original court-ordered agreement is no longer feasible. However, this option only works if both parents want to change the court order. 

In a state like New York, you and your ex can agree to change the custody order. However, you still must get it approved by the court. If both parties agree on the change and it is in the child’s best interests, then a New York court will usually allow a modification.

In a state like Florida, some courts might allow a lawyer to write up a new agreement for both parties to sign to modify the current parenting plan.

Different States Have Different Laws

As is true of all family and divorce law, each state has its own rules governing child custody.

It is crucial that you understand your home state’s rules because they will indicate any restrictions or steps you need to take to modify a court ordered custody order or custody agreement.

For example, most states have a mandatory waiting period before either parent can ask to modify the custody arrangement. This is to allow the child time to adjust to the new arrangement because change can be very difficult for children. In Illinois, after a judge gives a final custody order unless there is an emergency, there is a mandatory two-year waiting period before the order can be changed. In states like Indiana and Texas there is a one-year compulsory requirement. A state like Virginia only requires six months before the order can be modified.

You might be operating from an outdated understanding of how divorce laws work. Read “Divorce Laws in the United States: Then and Now” to understand more.

Another example of how states differ through the modification process is that some states, like Florida and Kentucky, might have you appeal the order to the same judge who ruled on the initial custody agreement.

Understanding your state laws will allow you to be better prepared for the custody changing process or any other modifications, like child support, that may be needed.


While a final judgment custody order (or court ordered custody order) is the final decision as to parenting time, you do have the option to ask the court for a modification. If you or your Ex has a substantial change in circumstances, there is a way to ensure your and your child’s needs are met. 


Elizabeth Newland is a third-year law student in Chicago committed to children and family rights. She aims to work in a family-related non-profit firm after graduation. 

Whether you are thinking about divorce, dealing with it, or recreating the life you deserve, one thing we see making a significant difference for women is the conscious choice to not do it alone. Since 2012, smart women around the world have chosen SAS for Women to partner them through the emotional, financial, and oftentimes complicated experience of breaking up and reinventing. 

SAS offers all women six free months of email coaching, action plans, checklists, and support strategies. All of it sent discreetly to your inbox.

Join our tribe and stay connected.


*We support same-sex marriages. For the sake of simplicity in this article, however, we refer to your spouse as your “husband” or a “he.”

Divorce in Canada and a Personal Injury Settlement

Divorce in Canada and a Personal Injury Settlement

When going through a divorce in Canada, the division of assets and liabilities is a significant issue that must be dealt with. If you received your personal injury settlement during your marriage, it’s crucial to learn the effect it will have on your divorce settlement. This article will discuss what happens to personal injury settlements in divorce in Canada. 

In Canada, personal injury settlements are subject to division during divorce. This means that the settlement received due to a personal injury claim is divided between the spouses as part of the property division process. The court will consider various factors in determining how to divide the settlement, such as the length of the marriage, each spouse’s contributions, and the couple’s overall financial situation. To know more about divorce in Canada and personal injury settlement, visit this website.  

When a Canadian Couple Divorces, How are Assets Split? 

In Canada, when a couple divorces, the process of dividing their assets is typically determined through negotiation or court proceedings. If the couple can reach an agreement through negotiation, the settlement terms will be reflected in a separation agreement or divorce order.  

As a way to avoid court, consider reading, “Why Choose Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) If You are Divorcing.”

Suppose the couple is unable to settle. In that case, a judge will decide on their behalf based on several factors, including the length of the marriage, each party’s income and earning potential, the value of the assets and debts, and the needs of any dependent children. The judge will also consider any agreements or arrangements made between the parties. The overall goal is to reach a fair and equitable division of assets that considers each case’s circumstances.

Questions and Answers From a Personal Injury Lawyer 

When a couple undergoes divorce in Canada and is dealing with a  personal injury settlement, the personal injury settlement may be subject to division. Legal proceedings of divorce are intricate. Divorce laws in Canada dictate whether a former spouse is eligible for a settlement and, if so, the amount they can receive. Here are some essential details to consider.

  • Can a Spouse Who Didn’t Suffer an Injury Collect a Settlement?

    Even if the insurance company initially decided to pay the compensation to you alone, a court may declare that the settlement is community property if it was granted for the injury of a child, for example. 

    If there’s a personal injury settlement, your spouse may be entitled to compensation if they suffer financial hardship due to your injuries. If you were in a vehicle accident by yourself and injured, your husband would have to take care of the kids and housework while you recuperate. 

  • What Happens to the Injuries Sustained During the Marriage and the Resulting Settlement? 

    In a divorce in Canada and personal injury settlement, the settlement may come in cash or a check during a marriage. How this money is split depends on whose name is on the case and what it was used for. 

    An award for damages from a personal injury one spouse got while married is their property. When a couple files a joint lawsuit, the law says that the classification of the settlement money will determine which spouse gets it.

    Such an award would go to the spouse who suffered the most due to the incident in question in terms of pain and suffering. The other spouse will receive the reward if it’s determined that they had suffered a loss of comfort and companionship as a result of the marriage.  

What else should you be thinking of if you are dealing with divorce as a woman? Check out “55 Must-Do’s on Your Modern Divorce Checklist.”

  • How Does the Court Divide the Settlement?

    In Canada, the division of assets and liabilities must be considered in the divorce. In Canada, personal injury settlements received during the marriage are considered marital assets and must be split between the partners. The court will consider various factors when determining how to divide the settlement, including the length of the marriage, each spouse’s contributions, and the couple’s overall financial situation.

    The court will take into account the characteristics of the personal injury and the effect it had on the spouse who received the settlement. For example, if the injury resulted in a permanent disability, the court may consider this in determining how to divide the settlement. The court may also take into account any special needs or costs that may come up because of the injury, like medical bills or the cost of making changes to the home.

    Another essential factor to consider is the use of settlement funds. Suppose the settlement is used to pay for medical expenses related to the injury. This could affect how the assets are split during the divorce and whether or not spousal support is given. The court will take into account the extent to which the settlement funds were used to benefit both spouses and the extent to which they were used to benefit only one spouse.

  • Can a Personal Injury Settlement Affect How Spousal Support is Paid?

    Even if the insurance company initially decided to pay the settlement to you alone, a court could say that the money belongs to both of you if, for example, it was given because your child was hurt. 

    Again, if the settlement was because of a personal injury, your spouse might be able to get money if they have trouble paying their bills. If you were in a vehicle accident by yourself and injured, your husband would have to take care of the kids and housework while you recuperated. 

  • What Are the Tax Implications of Personal Injury Settlements in a Canadian Divorce?

    In addition to the division of assets and liabilities, it’s essential to consider the tax implications of a personal injury settlement in a divorce. Depending on the circumstances, a personal injury settlement may be taxed differently than other forms of income or property. 

    Typically, in Canada, settlements received for personal injury covering aspects such as pain and suffering, loss of income, or other non-economic damages are not subject to taxation. However, settlements for economic damages, such as medical expenses or lost wages, may be subject to tax.

    It’s crucial to consult a tax professional to understand the potential tax consequences of a settlement in your specific case. A tax expert can help you figure out how the settlement will affect your taxes, including how it will affect your overall tax bill and if there are any tax planning strategies you want to use.

You will ALWAYS want to be mindful of what would be the best business transaction for you as you divorce. Read our  “What Divorce Does to a Woman: You and Your Money.”

The Takeaway

If you are considering a divorce in Canada that involves a personal injury settlement, you should find out how it might affect your divorce. Add it to your list of questions to ask a divorce attorney at a consultation. A divorce lawyer can assist you in understanding the laws and regulations relevant to your case and safeguarding your rights and concerns during the divorce process. 

To sum up, a personal injury settlement acquired during the course of a marriage in Canada is considered marital property and, therefore, eligible for division in the event of a divorce. Knowing the different factors that affect the outcome, the possible tax effects, and how to protect your rights and interests is important. Working with an experienced divorce lawyer can help you get a fair settlement that meets your needs, protects your rights and interests, and is fair to both of you.


Brady Lowder is an intern in a law firm specializing in personal injuries and workplace compensations. He believes that everyone is entitled to free legal advice, so he writes guest posts and blog articles about legal matters on the side. His hobbies include playing board games and reading books that are not law-related.

Whether you are considering a divorce or already navigating the confusing experience, one thing we see making a significant difference for women is the conscious choice to not do divorce alone. Since 2012, smart women around the world have chosen SAS for Women to partner them through the emotional, financial, and oftentimes complicated issues of divorce. 

“A healthy divorce requires smart steps, taken one at a time.” ~ Liza Caldwell, SAS Cofounder.

Take a step to hear what’s possible for you and schedule your free consultation now.


*We support same-sex marriages. For the sake of simplicity in this article, however, we refer to your spouse as your “husband” or a “he.”

How to help a friend through a divorce

How to Help a Friend Through a Divorce in 18 Loyal Ways

There may not be an infallible method for how to help a friend through a divorce, nor how to pry off the lid she’s got clamped on her real feelings. Sometimes, though, you may wish for a lid to put on her determination to post every insulting meme she can find, and block her from running by the old house “to pick something up” when really, she just wants to see whose car is in the driveway.

Even the best of friends, the most soulful, empathetic, insightful and funny among us may sometimes think we just failed miserably when trying to help.

Hang in there with her. It’s not easy but it is simple to help your friend through this messy metamorphosis and give her – if not everything — the most important things you would have put on your own divorce wish list.

Because, you know this all too well. Divorce can feel like a trampoline set on a nest of fire ants, a pogo sticking marathon on cobblestones of loss and rage, wild elation and tearing fear. It’s the sound of thin ice cracking, a naked ballet class in quicksand with hallucinations of Olympic judges hiding nearby, or it can be a thunderstorm of grief in a thimble.

It’s also a glorious unleashing of a woman’s potential, a Renaissance fair of possibility, an unfurling, a chain-snapping, brazen dance into the savannahs of self-discovery and finally getting to be exactly who we wanted to be.

How lovely it is when we get to be the Fairy God-Sister for our friend and give her some thoughtful comfort in the face of all this. Besides your magic wand, here are 18 ways to offer sustenance and succor to her, whether tangible or emotional.

How to Help a Friend Through a Divorce

1. It’s OK to Be Whatever, However, Whenever

Let her know that it is 100 percent allowed to be All Over the Place for a while. One of the best pieces of advice I’ve heard is this: “You will have a different, really extreme emotion every five seconds. Just roll with it. It will pass. Let yourself feel it and then let it go when you can.”

One of the most powerful divorce gifts we can give our friend is to meet her where she is. She will second-guess, she may babble, she will cry and then laugh like a loon, and she will probably want to buy some really questionable outfits. Try to let her. Sometimes we just have to let the crazy out.

For a grounding on what is happening with her (or yourself?), check out “Your Shocking Post-Divorce Behavior”

2. Ask, Don’t Tell

If something feels like a really bad idea, ask her if maybe there’s another option she might consider, another way to look at something. If she’s not ready to go there yet, don’t push. Try to listen for the good timing, a natural segue and those little Easter egg word cues you can follow to the place where she’s ready to hear that there might be “another way”. And if she’s absolutely certain the hot purple plastic tube top with dominatrix ties at the neck is part of her new go-to-hell outfit of choice…well…maybe find a Girls’ Night Out option where that works and then bring a can of Mace and a sweater.

3. Don’t Make Her Wrong

Sometimes it’s difficult to bite our tongues, but it’s crucial to listen without judgment, without telling her where she “ought” to be in the process. There is absolutely no “ought to” here. Everyone has their own process and does things their way in their own time.

There is no measuring stick for how this goes and no time limit for when she should be “over it.” Nope. If the words “should” or “ought to” want to leap out of your mouth, reel them back and swallow them.

4. It’s Not a Failure, It’s a Re-Route

Look at it this way. Divorce (or the threat of it) is that GPS gal keeping us all headed toward the road of what is healthy — a solid, fulfilling partnership or preventing us from getting stuck in the gridlock of a miserable marriage for the rest of our lives.

Check out “How to Overcome the 6 Hardest Things About Life After Divorce.”

5. Patience, Patience, Patience

No sighing, no secretly rolling your eyes, no patronizing, no lecturing.

The best way to listen to someone is join them for the trip — but not be a backseat driver. You’re there to feel it with her, laugh with her through it, hug her and mirror back to her what she’s ready to hear. Sometimes pushing someone does help, but more often, our friends need to know they have people on their side more than they need to be challenged. Divorce is challenging enough.

6. When in Doubt, Delegate

You learned this in your own divorce, and now, it’s time to pass it on and not waste time. Among the greatest gifts of helping a friend through a divorce, is to encourage her to reach out to the right people for their divorce advice and expertise. Don’t just start and stop with a divorce lawyer, inspire her to connect with a divorce coach and to learn how one could anchor her and save money, time, and most of all, pain. If she hems and haws, let her know that many divorce coaches give free consultations to demonstrate how they help, so what’s to lose? And getting your friend a meeting with a certified divorce financial analyst (CDFA) is critical, since economics will play a definite role in her divorce. (You learned that yourself from your divorce coach😉.)

7. From Delegating to Depositions, Help Her Hire a Lawyer

Sometimes having an attorney in your corner is the only way to make it out of a divorce with the assets, the parenting agreements and the sense of control you need to recreate a life with more than just remnants and scraps. But of course, lawyers are expensive. If you have the means, lend her the money or even gift a portion of what it will cost, even if it’s just that first meeting. If that isn’t feasible – and let’s face it, these days certain grocery items are enough to cause sticker shock – check with your friends to see if pooling funds or even a GoFundMe account is a possibility, but make sure everyone understands that discretion is paramount. Along the lines of discretion, keep in mind that she may need to keep legal meetings strictly under wraps, particularly if she’s dealing with an abuser. It may be necessary to pay in cash or help her set up a separate account so as not to leave a paper trail. She will also want to interview and/or research which lawyers are best and get a general idea of what she’s entitled to and what she can expect. Try to help her formulate the best questions to ask a divorce attorney at a consultation.

8. Remind Her of Her Best Self

You’re her cheering section through this battle, so mean it. Divorce can flay us, leave us hollowed out, bring up every fear and dimmish every bit of confidence. She’s going to forget how great she is, so remind her. Don’t wonder why or get frustrated with her; the best of her is in there, she’s just in a blinding whirlwind of change right now and can’t see herself clearly. Tell her she sparkles, that she’s smart, resilient, gorgeous, funny and that she’s tougher than she thinks. Remind her of what she’s already faced, why she should be proud of herself. Remember when she kicked that 5th grade bully in the shins because he kept teasing you? She probably doesn’t remember that right now, so tell her again. Make her laugh. The finest help we can give, the most loving  way to be a friend, is to see the best of her when she’s miles away from her best and then keep telling her what you see.

9. Don’t Villainize Her Ex

He may be a Grade A douchebag, but let her say that first. It doesn’t mean you can’t offer insight, but spewing vitriol and insults over him before she does (and she will likely reach her angry phase at some point) could just make her think she was stupid for marrying him in the first place — like she was the only one who didn’t see it. It also runs the risk of emoting for her, which is less a matter of empathy and more a matter of co-opting her process.

10. Don’t Superimpose Another Divorce Story Onto Hers

This goes along with not co-opting her process. We don’t help by giving her another story to compete with. Don’t up the ante with the “had it worse and done it better” angle. Every story is valid. There is a happy medium between letting her know she’s part of a very big tribe of women and diminishing her voice and her unique story with a constant refrain of other women’s headlines. She needs you to hear her. By the same token, it’s not ok to make her fears and her sadness worse by telling her all the horror stories you’ve heard, nor is it helpful to project some angry story of your own onto her and her situation. This isn’t your part of the show. Here’s an example of what “making it all about you” looks like: One friend said to another, “Well, I hope you don’t go after your husband’s IRA. My brother’s wife went after his IRA, and it’s really not fair.” In what world is this helpful? This isn’t the time to use your friend’s story to vent your own frustrations.

11. Don’t Villainize Her Ex… But Don’t Date Him, Either

There’s a code among friends, girls, so just eliminate that little fantasy from your head right now. It really shouldn’t have to be said. You may have always liked him. You might understand why he and your friend are divorcing. But if you want your friend to stay in your life, do not get involved with her Ex now or afterward. This is not to say you can’t be civil, social, or friendly with him down the road. But dating him? That’s a certain way to throw gas on this fire and make her pain and sense of betrayal 100 times worse.

Take it from another divorced woman, and remind yourself “What You Should Never Say to a Divorced Woman.”

12. Text Her

She needs to know someone sees her, that she’s still got witnesses for her story, especially now when the plot twists are coming hard and fast. She needs to know she’s on someone’s mind. “Good morning, Beautiful Girl.” (It doesn’t matter that you’re not her dream lover; she’ll know how you mean it). Some other things she might need to hear are, “You’re a total bad-ass. I know this feels god-awful right now but it’ll get better and you’ve got this.” Or “Hey, babe, just thinking about you. Want to get coffee?” Or simply, “At least you’re not vomiting right now.”

13. Meal Delivery

With or without kids, this may not be a money saver but it eliminates the need to have to think about One. More. Thing. It also gives her back a little of the framework she may be missing, that sense of being partnered, and it frees her up from the “hangry” impulse choices that are great at times but may be difficult to resist when she really wants to resist them. Sun Basket offers delivered meals to prep, all ingredients included, or microwavable options. There’s also Blue Apron and Hungry Root for vegans. If there’s enough of a friend and family network, Give in Kind is a “meal train” system, and on the other end of the spectrum, Spoonful of Comfort does just a one-time delivery. And there’s always Amazon. My sister’s friend had bone broth delivered to her during her recent Covid quarantine; she said it was a wonderful gift, not only to have something soothing and nutritious already prepared when she was far too tired to do her own cooking, but also as a tangible reminder that she was loved and cared for.

14. Give Her a Logistical Lift

Offer to pick the kids up after school, or to host them overnight at your house for a pajama party. Call her from the grocery store and ask her if there’s something she needs. Tell her you’ll feed her cat or take her dog for a walk. It’s these small, practical things that help her feel partnered even if she’s no longer married, and lets her know she’s not alone – whether in her divorce journey or in the howling wilderness of Wal-Mart.

15. Massage

One of the things that brings out the sadness in a divorce is missing the touch of someone she loved, and often wondering if she’ll have that again. A massage session is a soft way to be nurtured, feel beautiful and relaxed and also be out in the community again in a way that is both stimulating and soothing. Massage Envy or Zeel have locations in most cities, but word of mouth for local practitioners is often the best way to find the ones with the golden touch.

And send her this link, so she knows where she is headed: “46 Steps to Ensure Your Divorce Recovery: A Definition and a Guide”

16. The Pretty Basket

Women are pretty great about finding things that remind our friends that they’re beautiful and desirable but also don’t make them feel like they now have a self-improvement assignment. My sister got me some really wonderful hand-made bath bombs complete with crystals and pretty stones in them, so each bath was a delicious whipped-froth Sundae with a little treasure hunt afterward. Brilliant. 

A good hand cream is always nice and nail polish is a good one; it’s fun and the toes can often be as creative and vivid as we want them to be. Candles, of course, a comfy pair of PJ’s, a teddy bear for her to sleep with or another wee beastie she might happen to like – maybe a plush toy sloth, duck or iguana is more her thing. Regardless, it gives her something to hug at night when the silence gets really loud.  If you’re confident and it feels like a needful thing, a high-quality vibrator is a gift that keeps on giving. If you don’t feel like you’ve got the knack for this, Unbox Me is a woman-owned care package business — and those women might have just the right item for your pal.

17. A Week of Work-Outs

See if there’s something she’s wanted to try and tuck a week-long gym membership in her basket of goodies you might give her. Maybe it’s a spin class, maybe it’s pole dancing or a kickboxing gym — whatever grabs her imagination. A lot of anger can surface after a divorce and there is nothing so satisfying as the shotgun blast sound of a full-size punching bag when you kick it with everything you’ve got. Classpass allows women to try it before buying it, keeps her active and those much-needed endorphins percolating.

And of course, the …

18. Girls’ Night Out Coupons

You know, to show off those highly questionable outfits. Love those things.


Jennifer Bent is a freelance writer and print journalist living in the South Carolina Lowcountry. Connect with Jennifer at


Here’s still more help for a friend through a divorce: Since 2012, SAS for Women has been entirely dedicated to the unexpected challenges women face while considering a divorce and navigating the divorce experience and its confusing afterward. SAS offers women like your friend, six FREE months of email coaching, action plans, checklists, and support strategies. All of it sent discreetly to her inbox.

Encourage her to join our tribe and stay connected.


*We support same-sex marriages. For the sake of simplicity in this article, however, we refer to your spouse as your “husband” or a “he.”

My Husband Destroyed Me Emotionally

My Husband Destroyed Me Emotionally

Recently, two people wrote me. One was a woman who shared, “My husband destroyed me emotionally. How do I ever move on?” And ironically the other was a man, who said, “Women don’t have a monopoly on being abused.” My heart goes out to both of these brave people who are suffering, and to others who identify with their situations. In this piece, I share not what I wrote to them privately in response to their emails, but rather, my thoughts on emotional damage, relationships, and our American culture.

Who identifies with “My husband destroyed me emotionally”? 

I am guessing many of you who are reading this.

Emotional destruction by a spouse: there are few things more difficult to heal from. The word “destroyed” is one of those words in the English lexicon that – in this case – I hesitate to use. It’s a word we hear in conjunction with nuclear explosions, California wildfires, tsunamis, and corporate oil spills. It suggests something that’s impossible to come back from. In the case of divorce or the severing of a long-term, intimate partnership, it can feel this way for a few years afterward — especially in the case of physical or emotional abuse.

Instead of “destroy,” I prefer the word “damage,” which suggests something that can truly be healed, something that can be made stronger, more graceful, and more functional by healing.

Husbands and wives are extensions of cultural value systems; we are all products of one culture or another. Husbands in patriarchal systems often have more leverage for exerting a destructive force in the lives of a wife they want to control.

Aside from their physical strength and the aggressive influence of testosterone, they also often are the ones in a marriage with more financial clout, status, and authority. If a husband from such a culture wants to wreak destruction, havoc and abuse, they are more in a position to do so than wives who may still be limited to hearth, home, and child-rearing rather than out in the world earning money.

Damage and destruction take many forms within a marriage. Toxicity comes in the guise of cheating, constant criticism or defensiveness – a refusal to take responsibility for one’s actions. There is yelling and verbal abuse, physical abuse, or threatening the family pet. Gaslighting, or a constant need to be right, addiction, financial recklessness, lying, manipulation, and chronic anger are also destructive.

Do you question if your marriage is unhealthy? Check out “27 Signs You are in a Toxic Marriage.”

But using the word “husband” exclusively here suggests that men are the only ones who wreak destructive emotional havoc that is toxic and difficult to heal. This is not the case. Men are not the only gender who can destroy emotional well-being, just as women are not the only victims of emotional toxicity, the only single parents, or the only gender to survive abuse.

Women are survivors of this kind of damage, and yes, emotional abuse and destruction. There is no doubt about that. But so are men, and as a culture, Americans have not successfully socialized men to understand or even talk about their feelings. Though our stories of what it is to be male or female are changing, thankfully, we still objectify men as the bread-winning “strong and silents.”

This website is for women, but if we women are to welcome the wholeness and healing that we say we seek, then we must recognize that we also damage emotional well-being to the point of destruction. And we need to improve how well we listen and take responsibility for our own hurtful behaviors. Women need to do a better job of encouraging men to value and discuss their own emotional processes, not just ours.

Being emotionally destroyed by your husband is not a pretty or comfortable truth, but it is a truth, nonetheless.

I have two male friends who had both been emotionally damaged by the women in their lives. For a period of time, they felt that their self-esteem had been destroyed. One had a wife of many years who cheated on him; he turned to alcohol, and it took his son telling him he was afraid for him to snap him out of the grief he was trying to numb.

The other had a long-term life partner who continually gaslighted him, refusing to take responsibility for how her cutting remarks affected him and redirecting the blame by making him out to be the cause of her continual caustic remarks.

He began his own self-rescue by pulling step by step out of the relationship, resisting the temptation to turn back to the familiar and call her. He went for long bike rides. He went to lunch with friends, played with his dog, bought a house in a neighboring town, and slowly, pulled his sense of himself out from under her.

And so, they healed themselves.

To the woman who said, “My husband destroyed me emotionally, I want her and others like her to know that women go through a similar healing process, destroyed or not. Sometimes a husband’s damage is simply draining a wife’s vital spark by making her the only adult in the marriage. 

I have another friend who married at 21 and divorced at 23. Her husband didn’t abuse her; in fact, he was a very caring man. But he had no sense of responsibility or recognition of his role as an adult in the marriage. He quit his job when she went on maternity leave because he wanted to be with her, overlooking the fact that she was still bringing in money from her job and now he was not. When she went into labor, he couldn’t be reached on the phone.

Finally, the woman asked her mother-in-law to go by the house. He had been playing a video game with headphones on for hours and hadn’t heard the ringtone. He was angry when she left him, as a child is when they are grounded for not doing their chores.

This woman healed herself by leaving, by refusing to take an ironic back seat to “Call of Duty.” For years, she healed herself by refusing to date or even consider another relationship. She focused on her personal growth, career, and children, as well as discovering not only her voice, but also what she truly desired. She started practicing yoga and later became a yoga instructor. She eventually remarried, but it took years for her new husband to persuade her that he was safe, worth the risk, and that he would join her in adulthood.

Women can heal themselves if they choose, if they choose to do the hard work in understanding their stories and taking action in support of themselves. Check out “46 Steps to Ensure Your Divorce Recovery: A Definition and a Guide.”

In terms of being emotionally destructive, I believe patriarchal institutions can be overlooked as secondary perpetrators. The question of destruction should be applied to the institution of marriage itself, and the culture that pushes it as a norm and a priority.

The institution of marriage and our culture can also make women feel like failures, with a continual emphasis on cleaving to one’s husband and motherhood being a woman’s top-tier priorities. Despite it being the year 2023, women are still shown by all the tools of cultural norming that if they are not making men, marriage, and childbirth their primary life goals, they are somehow missing the point of their existence.

Spoken or unspoken, there is a lingering message still felt by many: if you’re not a wife and a mother, you’re not a whole and complete woman. And getting ground down by that – especially for women who come from purity cultures with their steel cable ties to a religion where the whole emphasis is on being a wife and making your husband happy — can certainly be destroying.

When women are part of a system of thought that is not geared toward protecting them and their emotional needs but is instead geared toward leveraging them as a commodity for making other people comfortable, it leaves them with a drastically reduced sense of their own value as a human being and will undercut any sense of autonomy they might have had. This is especially true if the purity culture of their religion is tied to another rigid system, like a military or medical career, a police force, or even a hierarchical corporation.

If a woman has enough self-esteem to be upset about it, she will be able to get back up. But if she never knew she had a right to be mad in the first place, it’s a lot harder. It is often seeing their children begin to suffer abuse by the man of the house that snaps women out of the numbness that their own abuse has instilled.

It cuts through the haze of that life-or-death need to survive by sinking into denial or invisibility, and sends them on the road to healing. They realize that they have to get their children out. I know three women who literally packed their bags, got their children’s personal items together, and snuck out of the house in the middle of the night, or when their husbands were out of town.

If you are in an abusive relationship, please read this article, “Leaving an Abusive Marriage? There are Steps You Need to Take First.”

This kind of abuse so erodes a woman’s sense of self that it often takes a long time and something jarring for them to realize how unsafe their husbands are. But this doesn’t include all the little coping decisions made in less extreme situations – choices made to lessen presence, and become smaller:

What do I like to eat? How do I like the room when I sleep? What do I like to see in my space? All these small things make up the individual and a sense of autonomy. Gradually, women (and men) begin to trust their judgment again. Perhaps they talk to their friends and discover that many people get the emotional rug pulled out from under them and that this doesn’t mean their ability to make good choices or be discerning is fatally flawed.

Gradually, though, the small things grow into big things like: I’m going to enroll in a college course, or I’m going to work from home, or I think I’ll get a dog or my commercial driver’s license. Slowly we build ourselves back — sometimes from zero, sometimes not.

We become better at trusting ourselves and we rediscover what it feels like to know that being safe at home, whole and healed, mostly means just being ourselves. We get more committed to figuring out who that is and how to be just us. No matter how long this process takes, we’re all in there somewhere.

Schedule your free consultation with SAS for Women to discuss steps you can take to support your precious, emotional healing after a challenging divorce.


Jennifer Bent is a freelance writer, print journalist and feature writer living in the South Carolina Lowcountry. Connect with Jennifer at 


Whether you are thinking about divorce, dealing with it, or recreating the life you deserve, one thing we see making a significant difference for women is the conscious choice to not do it alone. Since 2012, smart women around the world have chosen SAS for Women to partner them through the emotional, financial, and oftentimes complicated experience of breaking up and reinventing. 

SAS offers all women six free months of email coaching, action plans, checklists, and support strategies for you — and your precious future. Join our tribe and stay connected.


*We support same-sex marriages. For the sake of simplicity in this article, however, we refer to your spouse as your “husband” or a “he.”

Your State Law and Divorce

Your State Law and Divorce: Where You Do IT Matters

In the United States, every state has its own set of laws governing divorce proceedings. And while there is a nationwide set of laws guiding divorce or family law matters, it is the state in which you reside, and are a citizen of, that will dictate the specifics of your case. Therefore, it’s important to learn about your particular state’s divorce laws to understand what you are entitled to, what your rights are, and how to navigate your divorce successfully.

State law vs. federal law?

The US federalist system requires two separate court systems: state and federal. Historically, family law has been an arm of state law. The state legislature, state lawmakers, and state constitution dictate laws relating to families, marriage, and children.

The federal courts are specialty courts, so they hear cases relating to the constitution, foreign affairs, disputes between states, bankruptcy, admiralty, and international treaties. The state court system is responsible for matters including most criminal cases, probate (trusts and wills), family, tort (personal injury), and most contract cases.

State courts have almost complete jurisdiction over family law matters, including marriage and divorce.

The federal government does have some discretion about family and children’s courts. This will generally only apply to cases and issues relating to a federal specialty (as stated above). For example, the right to gay marriage in Obergefell v. Hodges is a marriage case; however, it is also a constitutional question. These are very rare cases, and for almost all divorces, state law will apply. 

Different approaches to divorce law

Because family law is a component of state law, divorce law is not therefore, uniform across the states. There might be an overlap in some states; however, each state has its own standards for the proceeding.

To show the differences in divorce laws amongst states, we will explore four geographically diverse states (California, Illinois, New York, and Alabama) and their approach to three common divorce components.

1. Marital conduct in considering child custody

Some state code requires a court to consider morals and marital conduct when determining parental custody. State statute might require the court to consider adultery when determining a child custody ruling.

  • California family code does not state any consideration of morals.
  • Illinois statute reads that there will be no consideration of the conduct of a parent that DOES NOT affect their relationship with the child.
  • Alabama code considers the “moral character and prudence” of the parents when determining custody arrangements.
  • New York does not list any factors concerning parental morals.

2. Date of Classification for Property or when the marriage ended

The date of classification is also known as the date the marriage ended and is the date on which you and your spouse no longer acquire marital property. After this day, any property either spouse obtains is their personal, separate property.

  • California ends the marriage at the date of separation (which is usually the date the couple decides their marriage is done and they are separated).
  • Illinois uses the date of dissolution (the final date the divorce case gets proven, or the divorce trial occurs).
  • Alabama uses the date the complaint for divorce is FILED (submitted) to the court. 
  • New York uses the date of the commencement of the divorce action as the indicator to stop marital property.

To understand more about property in divorce, check out our article “Marital property and Non-Marital Property: The Surprising Differences

3. Separation or Waiting Periods for No-Fault Divorce

Many states require a formal waiting period or a trial separation before allowing a couple to file or grant a no-fault divorce. This is a historical practice to enable a couple ample time to reconsider and try to amend the marriage.

  • California requires a six-month waiting period post-filing for a divorce.
  • Illinois statute dictates there must be a two-year waiting period UNLESS both couples agree, then the waiting period decreases to six months.
  • Alabama has a one-month waiting period.
  • New York requires one year before a divorce.

As you are seeing, family law and divorce law are not standardized across the country. Every state has a different law regarding critical components of your divorce.

If you are contemplating divorce, you will want to read other things to consider in our “36 Things to Do If You are Thinking About Divorce.”

What state can I file for a divorce in?

While every state has different divorce laws, you cannot choose which state you wish to file in just because that state might provide you with a more favorable outcome. The state you file in must have jurisdiction over your case. This means that the state must have the official legal power to grant a divorce.

SAS TIP: If you are a new resident of a state and are looking to file a divorce there, check the state laws to see if a new resident waiting period applies; and also compare the state divorce laws from where you moved. Which state would better support your divorce goals and objectives?

Read our helpful article for more on which states have the longest residency requirement to file for divorce and which ones the shortest?

Contrary to popular belief, you do not have to file for a divorce in the same state you were married in. If you and your spouse both live in the same state, then one of you must be a resident of that state to file for divorce. A state might require a waiting period if you are new to that state, generally up to one year.

If you are definitely divorcing, make sure you take care of yourself and read “The 55 Must-Do’s on Your Modern Divorce Checklist.”

What if you and your spouse live in different states?

If you and your spouse live in different states and are determining which state you can file a divorce in, the context of your divorce and marriage will dictate which state has jurisdiction.

SAS TIP: If you and your spouse live in different states, the state in which you can file for a divorce will be DIFFERENT based on what you are seeking from the divorce.

If you want a divorce with no allocation of property and no children involved, you can file in any state where ONE person is a resident. Both parties do not have to be state residents to have a divorce proceeding there. Nor does either party need a connection to that state. If you move to a new state and your spouse doesn’t, you can file a basic divorce in that state, even if your spouse has never stepped foot there (assuming you meet the residency and waiting period requirements).

If you are looking for a court to solve financial issues (like property division or establishing spousal support), then the filing state must have minimum contact with both spouses. This means that the out-of-state spouse must have SOME connection with the state. For example, did one spouse live in that state and eventually move away? Versus, did you move to a state, and did your spouse not move with you? One person must have residency in the state, and the other person must have some connection to the state for the state court to consider financial decisions.

If you are looking for the court to determine child custody decisions and you and your spouse live in different states, the court will look to the child’s home state.

This means it does not matter where you or your spouse live. The court will look at the child’s home state for the six months prior to the proceeding. This is because courts want to ensure stability for the child by leading court proceedings in the state they are most familiar with.

What else should you be considering if you thinking about custody concerns? Check out ”Best Advice on Custody for Divorcing Moms”.

SAS Tip: The state you file a divorce in matters!


One of the most important ways to help reduce unneeded stress in your divorce is to have a thorough understanding of your state and its divorce laws. Having an understanding of how your state divorce court runs will allow you to strategize and focus more on the substance of your case and take care of yourself in the process.


Elizabeth Newland is a third-year law student in Chicago committed to children and family rights. She aims to work in a family-related non-profit firm after graduation. 

Since 2012, SAS for Women is entirely dedicated to the unexpected challenges women face while considering a divorce and navigating the divorce experience and its confusing afterward. SAS offers women six FREE months of email coaching, action plans, checklists, and support strategies for you and your future.

All of it, sent discreetly to your inbox. Join our tribe and stay connected.


*We support same-sex marriages. For the sake of simplicity in this article, however, we refer to your spouse as your “husband” or a “he.”

Divorce Rituals: Honoring the Big Change

Divorce Rituals: Honoring Your Big Change

When struggling through a divorce, many women look down the road and envision their final divorce decree as their ultimate goal, the culminating prize, the finish line that will incontrovertibly signal they have done it: they survived the divorce marathon! Why this is so is natural. There are so many steps that are procedural with divorce. There are those documents to gather, the Statement of Net Worth to complete, the countless conversations to endure negotiating the terms, maybe even, the selling of the house, that signing that final document must mean the end of the divorce, right?

Yes, if you consider only the legal process.

But at SAS, we know that this phase you’ve been through — negotiating the terms and signing that settlement agreement — is just one stage of your journey. And the stage to come is the one that’s more important.

More significant for you as a human being is your divorce recovery, the emotional and healing work of exploring and metabolizing what you’ve left behind, who you are now, and who you will become. One way to acknowledge and honor the arrival of this stage as a newly independent woman is through a divorce ritual.

Learn more about your divorce recovery and read 46 Steps to Your Divorce Recovery: A Definition and a Guide.

What is a divorce ritual?

A divorce ritual is a symbolic event that marks the end of a marriage or a divorce. It will look different to every woman, because there is no set definition or ceremony that constitutes a divorce ritual. It is unique and special to each person.

Divorce rituals step away from the logical and rational thought accompanying the divorce’s legal process. Instead, divorce rituals play on the abstract, like emotions and spirituality, to mark the completion of your divorce and transition into a new life. A divorce ritual allows you to find closure in your heart in a way that the legal process does not. Divorce rituals can also serve multiple, important purposes, like helping you let go of the difficult past and set the stage for your new life. In this way, they  celebrate an ending and a new beginning.

Divorce rituals allow you to acknowledge your previous suffering and turn those pains into wisdom as you move forward.

As divorce rituals are unique to each person, it is essential when considering yours to think about what would be best for you. What would feel right? How will you acknowledge and let go of your past relationship?

Not sure if you are there yet? For comfort and perspective, check out “How Long Does It Take to Get Over a Divorce?”

Choosing a Divorce Ritual

For the average person, a divorce ritual might be an entirely new (and shocking!) concept. But for those who are dealing with or recovering from divorce, the need to address this major shift in your life is obvious. There is a yearning to address the tugging of your heart that is almost indescribable. So, to honor you, and what you’ve been going through, we have identified a few ideas and common examples of divorce rituals to inspire and to help guide you as you embark on your new path.

Symbolism and Cleansing Elements

If you don’t know where to begin in creating your divorce ritual, you might consider focusing your energy on a specific symbol of your marriage. This might be a classic item like your ring or wedding license, or something unique that represents your marriage, like a particular CD that holds that “special song” or your honey moon photo album.

As you think about your divorce ritual, what it will entail, and perhaps focus on, it can be helpful to connect with the elements of the earth. For example, you might consider fire, a transformative energy that relates to anger and power, to burn your divorce papers and melt down your ring. This might help release your heart from some feelings of rage and hatred.  You might also connect with the element of water, which can be associated with sadness, longing, grieving, and, or cleansing. You might release your wedding symbol or a letter to your Ex into the water, either in a bottle, or sinking it with a thread and stone, or in its own Viking funeral boat, thus releasing yourself and your story with him*.

Consider reading this scholarly article for more on divorce rituals from a cultural and religious perspective.

Reversal of Marriage Ceremony

Some women may convert an aspect of their original marriage ceremony into a divorce ritual. For some, a common Christian wedding tradition is the lighting of the unity candle. This is when the bride and groom take two individual candles representing themselves and light one candle in the middle representing their marriage. They then blow out their candles to symbolize the end of their individuality and the start of their commitment to each other and unity. A divorce ritual based on this might be to reverse the unity candle. You might snuff out the symbolic shared candle and light your individual candle while visualizing what this independent version of yourself looks like. This can be done on your own or as part of a larger gathering of loved ones who witness you. This type of ritual flips the notion of marriage into the energy needed to start your new, independent life.

For stories of inspiration, check out “Starting Over After Divorce at 50: Five Stories on Finding Yourself.”

Sharing an Experience

A more collaborative approach that some women find helpful is to share an activity or final ritual with their Ex. Yes, with their Ex! This allows both spouses to end the marriage together and possibly, in a more positive light. This kind of divorce ritual might involve sharing one last special meal together, or one last toast, or one last dance while listening to music or songs that were symbolic of their marriage. Other couples choose to share a bed one last time. (Yes, it’s true!)  The thought here is to mirror the end of the relationship with the beginning, and help you embrace your newfound life as a single person.

Not all divorce rituals need to be planned out. They can be spontaneous. You might feel in your gut that something must be done to mark your transition, like an impromptu prayer, or a long trek or pilgrimage where you will get in touch with yourself. If you are called to do something, or feel a ritual is needed deep in your heart, then not only is it valid, justified, and important, it will probably make you feel freer afterward.

Consider other important steps to take to celebrate your hard-won status: read “100 Must Do’s for the Newly Independent Woman”.

Considering Your Own Divorce Ritual

Ideally, your divorce ritual commemorates your special rite of passage from your divorce to your new independent life. It can be done privately or with close family or friends. You’ll want to choose a meaningful place for your ceremony to encourage your sense of finality and closure as well as peace and serenity. Detach from your headspace that worked so hard in the last chapter of your divorce, and instead, check in with your heart as you aim for emotional, spiritual closure.

Be prepared that a divorce ritual might bring intense feelings to the surface. Make sure to take care of yourself during and after the ceremony with extra self-love. This could be going to a favorite place to enjoy a special meal by yourself or with friends, or even something simpler, like buying yourself flowers. 

As unique as each person, no two divorce rituals will ever be the same. This is precisely what makes the ritual so beautiful and potent for you.


As a society, we have rituals that celebrate momentous times in our life. Birthday parties, baby showers, religious celebrations, and of course, weddings. Your divorce, an enormous rite of passage, is also deserving of honor. Divorce rituals help you formalize reflecting on your past, moving on from it, and embracing what lies ahead. This post gives you a starting point to consider you and your needs. Think about the best, most meaningful divorce ritual for you. You will want to cross this threshold into your new life by honoring your past but, more importantly, looking forward to your precious future.


Elizabeth Newland is a third-year law student in Chicago committed to children and family rights. She aims to work in a family-related non-profit firm after graduation. 


Whether you are thinking about divorce, dealing with it, or recreating the life you deserve, one thing we see making a significant difference for women is the conscious choice to not do it alone. Since 2012, smart women around the world have chosen SAS for Women to partner them through the emotional, financial, and oftentimes complicated experience of breaking up and reinventing. 

SAS offers all women six free months of email coaching, action plans, checklists, and support strategies for you — and your precious future. Join our tribe and stay connected.


*We support same-sex marriages. For the sake of simplicity in this article, however, we refer to your spouse as your “husband” or a “he.”

25 Divorce Statistics and What They Mean for You as a Woman

25 Divorce Statistics and What They Mean for You as a Woman

No one wants to be connected in any way, shape, or form to divorce statistics.

Yet, here we are, seeking to get educated about the divorce process so we avoid some divorce statistics over others!

As we consider certain numbers and facts below, we encourage you to try to allow these figures to actually lessen your sense of aloneness. Take comfort that a lot of other women have been where you are. Indeed, many are reading this blog post too, also feeling alone, and together, in this solidarity, we are strong.

The fact is, it’s easy to feel alone when dealing with divorce.  And yet, so many other women across the country and globe have gone through a divorce, survived it, and moved on to find themselves in healthier lives that we’ve decided to investigate the numbers behind this damn, challenging life change. So you better understand your journey and lessen your sense of isolation, we’ll explore some US trends, facts, and divorce statistics that impact women like you.

Divorce Statistics: National Trends and General Facts 

Here are some fast facts and divorce statistics related to divorce by state, divorce trends, and national numbers within divorce law.

  1. More women in the U.S. file for divorce than men.1
  2. The United States has the 9th highest divorce rate in the world. The Maldives has the highest divorce rate, while Sri Lanka has the lowest divorce rate.2
  3. But despite what you might read elsewhere, the number of divorces has actually DECREASED in the United States in recent years.3
  4. Annulments and divorce rates have also decreased in the country.4
  5. In 2022, Arkansas has the highest divorce rate of 10.7%.5
  6. In contrast, Maine and the District of Columbia had the lowest divorce rates, both at 4.8%.6
  7. There has been a 2% decrease over the past decade as to the percentage of adults who live with a spouse.  In 2011, it was 52%, and it went down to 50% in 2021.7
  8. The average age of a divorcee is 45.5.8
    If you are older than 45.5 (like a lot of us), you’ll want to read more about women like you: “What Does a Gray Divorce Mean for You?”
  9. The median cost of a divorce is $7500.009

Parents and Divorce

A huge part of divorce is the effect it has on your family, specifically, your children. Here are some facts and statistics related to children, parents, and families in divorce.

10. There are 9.68 million single, female parents.10
11. Over 50% of all custodial parents have support agreements.  Support agreements are more commonly known as “child support.” Child support is a monthly payment given to the parent who the child resides with the most. During your divorce, you can either settle on your child support number with your Ex, or the judge can determine the appropriate amount.11

Check out SAS’ “Child Support: 5 Things to Mothers Must Know.”

12. Furthermore, there are 3.392 million single mothers who are divorced and 5.239 million single mothers raising one child.12
13. There are 475,000 single mothers raising four or more children.13
14. In 21.5% of unmarried couples, the woman earns at least $5,000 more per year than their Ex.14
15. 24.1% of divorcees live with children under 18.15
16. One in four parents are unmarried.16

Women and Divorce

Are you finding yourself inside these divorce statistics? If not, keep reading. Below are facts specifically related to women dealing with divorce.

17. 22% of women have been divorced.The number of women currently living in the United State is 168.63 million as of 2o2o. This means that approximately 37,098,600 women are divorced in the United States today.18
18. 11% of women are currently divorced and not remarried in the United States.19  This means that approximately 18,549,300 women are not remarried in the United States today.

If you are dealing with divorce and doing more than a cursory read of these divorce statistics, you’ll want to read and prepare for “How to Overcome the 6 Hardest Things About Life After Divorce.”

19. A little less than half of first marriages end in divorce.20

Are you looking for the most cited reasons people leave their marriages? What are the divorce statistics there? Read our “Top Reasons for Divorce: Are You Living This?”

  1. About 3 out of 4 divorced persons will remarry.21
  2. Women with a 4-year college degree or higher have an 80% chance of being married for more than 20 years.22
  3. That being said, college educated women initiate their divorce 90% of the time.23
  4. In 2018, more than 1 million women went through a divorce in the US.24
  5. Women’s household income falls by 41% after a divorce.25

However, the most important divorce statistic is below:

25. Research has found that women are happier and more satisfied with their life post-divorce.26

This statistics alone suggests that while your divorce journey may be difficult, there is a light calling from the end of the tunnel. There are other women waiting for you. Indeed, so many women have succeeded in moving through divorce and arriving to the other side to find themselves in a happier place that you must grab hold of this particular statistic. And check out “Divorce and Women: One Woman’s Journey” to feel inspired.


This article provides statistics related to divorce across the United States with a particular focus on women and how divorce impacts them.  With divorce being a full-blown life crisis, we know it impacts all aspects of our life (our families, financially, socially, emotionally, our futures, and who we are as individuals). While these statistics tell only part of the story, they do remind us that there are other women who have gone through what you are going through; there are other women who have survived. Yes, it takes courage and guts, and it may be something you would never wish on anyone else. But the numbers tell you that you are not alone. It is do-able, and more women than men express no regret with having faced divorce. More women than men feel they are better off now than spending every day leading half a life.

Hang in there. You don’t have to do this alone, now or later. Learn from others. Get support with a female-centered, divorce support group or divorce coach so you stop spinning, get clarity, and take control of your precious life.


Alexa Valenzisi is a 3L student in Chicago who is committed to child law and education law. She aims to work in education law or family law after graduation. 

Whether you are thinking about divorce, dealing with it, or recreating the life you deserve, one thing we see making a significant difference for women is the conscious choice to not do it alone. Since 2012, smart women around the world have chosen SAS for Women to partner them through the emotional, financial, and oftentimes complicated experience of breaking up and reinventing. 

SAS offers all women six free months of email coaching, action plans, checklists, and support strategies for you — and your precious future. Join our tribe and stay connected.


*We support same-sex marriages. For the sake of simplicity in this article, however, we refer to your spouse as your “husband” or a “he.”


  1. The Breaking Point: Why Do Women Initiate Divorce More Than Men?
  2. Divorce Rates by Country 2023
  3. Provisional number of marriages and marriage rate: United States, 2000-2020 
  4. Provisional number of marriages and marriage rate: United States, 2000-2020 
  5. Divorce Rate by State 2023
  6. Divorce Rate by State 2023
  7. Divorce Rates Statistics and Trends for 2022
  8. 48 Divorce Statistics in the U.S. Including Divorce Rate, Race, & Marriage Length
  9. 106 Divorce Statistics You Can’t Ignore: 2022 Divorce Rates and Impact on Children
  10. Divorce and Marriage rates in the US for 2002.
  11. Custodial Mothers and Fathers and Their Child Support: 2017
  12. Divorce and Marriage rates in the US for 2002.
  13. Divorce and Marriage rates in the US for 2002.
  14. Divorce and Marriage rates in the US for 2002.
  15. 48 Divorce Statistics in the U.S. Including Divorce Rate, Race, & Marriage Length
  16. The Changing Profile of Unmarried Parents
  17. 32 Shocking Divorce Statistics
  18. Total population in the United States by gender from 2010 to 2027
  19. 32 Shocking Divorce Statistics
  21. 32 Shocking Divorce Statistics
  22. 48 Divorce Statistics in the U.S. Including Divorce Rate, Race, & Marriage Length
  23. 106 Divorce Statistics You Can’t Ignore: 2022 Divorce Rates and Impact on Children
  24. 14 Divorce Statistics You Need to Know in 2022
  25. The Pandemic Induced Higher Divorce Rates. Here’s What it Can Do to Your Finances
  26. Research shows divorce spells big boost to women’s happiness

Why Choose Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) If You are Divorcing

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) is a way to settle disputes outside of court. It is a particularly relevant procedure when it comes to divorce as it can be cheaper and faster than traditional litigation, and it often preserves relationships. 

Of course, it goes without saying that divorces are messy. This is especially true if things get heated and you have to go to court. While litigation does not occur in every divorce, it may be a necessary step in your divorce case. And it can be both emotionally and financially draining– for you and your spouse.

However, the good news is that (if litigation isn’t necessary) there are other ways to get a divorce that are far less costly and mentally exhausting. One way to do this is by using alternative dispute resolution (ADR) proceedings. This article is a good starting point to determine if ADR is right for you. But as always, we encourage you to speak with an attorney first to evaluate your options based on your individual circumstances and needs before you jump and commit to anything.

What is Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)?

ADR is an out-of-court procedure that is designed to resolve disputes between parties in a number of situations–including divorce. In cases of divorce, ADR helps facilitate a voluntary divorce settlement–allowing the parties to agree on their own to the terms and conditions of the divorce.

While there are a few different types of ADR processes, the two most commonly used in divorce cases are mediation and arbitration. Divorce mediation is when an impartial third party (the “mediator”) helps the divorcing couple identify the issues of the divorce and reach a mutually acceptable resolution of those issues. The mediation takes place in a neutral setting and can be done with or without an attorney present. One important characteristic of mediation is that the mediator is not permitted to offer legal advice or make any decisions concerning the outcome of the divorce. Rather, the mediator is there to help the parties communicate–so that they can try to reach an agreement themselves. Some common issues that may be discussed during the mediation include:

Arbitration is when an impartial third party (the “arbitrator”) is selected by the divorcing couple to hear the arguments and consider the evidence from each party. Unlike mediation, the arbitrator is authorized to make decisions on divorce issues. However, the parties will decide prior to the arbitration whether or not they want the arbitrator’s decisions to be binding.

With binding arbitration, the parties waive their right to a trial and agree that the arbitrator’s decisions are final. Nonbinding arbitration, on the other hand, means that the parties may request a trial at the end of the arbitration proceeding if they are not satisfied with the arbitrator’s decisions.

The Benefits of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)

There are many benefits to using Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) (as opposed to litigation). Some of these benefits include:

  1. Speeding up the marriage dissolution process. Divorce cases that go to trial can take years to resolve. This is because it takes time to set court dates, gather evidence, prepare for trial, etc. However, since ADR proceedings are handled outside of the courtroom, they can and most likely will be settled within a few months.
  2. Reducing the costs and expenses of divorce. Most of the time, the cost of litigation is very high.  According to research conducted by Martindale-Nolo, attorney fees for divorce cases that involve a trial average around US $17,700. In addition to attorney fees, parties will also have to pay for other litigation expenses, including court costs and expert witness fees. Thus, ADR proceedings will save you a huge expense–just by staying out of the courtroom.
  3. Lowering the tensions and emotions between the parties. In trial cases, there is usually always a winning and losing party. This can result in greater hostility and higher tensions between the divorcing couple. This can also have long-lasting impact on the children. ADR helps to reduce these potential negative effects by allowing the parties to make their own decisions concerning their divorce–which will hopefully end in a win-win situation.
  4. Increasing the parties’ control over the divorce process. Most people like to feel a sense of control over their lives– especially when it comes to making decisions that have a direct impact on their future. One of the drawbacks of going to trial (if you must go there) is that, essentially, you’re leaving your fate in the hands of a judge (or jury) who is deciding your case for you.

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) at least gives you some control over the resolution process, which can help the parties be more accepting of the outcome.

How do I know if Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) is right for me?

Before making any kind of decision about your divorce, you should always start with researching your state’s current divorce laws. This is because some states may actually require some form of ADR before you can proceed with litigation. However, if your state doesn’t have an ADR pre-requisite for divorce, then you have a few options to consider–one being ADR. ADR might be the right approach for you if you and your spouse can:

If this sounds like something you and your spouse can do, then ADR might be in your best interest.

However, if your marital relationship has a history of dishonesty or toxicity, or if you and your spouse cannot agree on key issues (like marital property division and child custody) then it might be wise to consider other options—such as a more traditional approach. To learn more about other approaches/models to divorce, read “The 4 Types of Divorce and How to Know Which One’s Right for You.”

Ultimately, it is important to be aware of the fact that you don’t always have to go to court to effectively end your marriage. There are alternatives (like ADR) that will help achieve the same result — for a fraction of the cost and time.

In addition to seeking out legal advice, you should be asking yourself questions to help you figure out which course of action will be best suited for your situation. Are you on good terms with your Soon-to-Be-Ex? Do you think it’s possible to work together and negotiate a fair agreement? Do you have any serious disagreements over who gets to keep the house? Or where your children will spend the holidays? The answers to these kinds of questions will be critical in determining whether litigation is necessary or if your divorce can be resolved by some other legal means—like an ADR proceeding.


Jayne Cleary is a second-year law student in New York who is committed to helping educate and improve the families in her community.


Whether you are thinking about divorce, dealing with it, or recreating the life you deserve, one thing we see making a significant difference for women is the conscious choice to not do it alone. Since 2012, smart women around the world have chosen SAS for Women to partner them through the emotional, financial, and oftentimes complicated experience of breaking up and reinventing. 

 SAS offers all women six free months of email coaching, action plans, checklists, and support strategies for you — and your precious future. Join our tribe and stay connected.

 *We support same-sex marriages. For the sake of simplicity in this article, however, we refer to your spouse as your “husband” or a “he.”

6 Divorced Moms Share the ONE Thing You Should Never Say to Your Kids

The ONE Thing You Should Never Say to Your Kids During Divorce

When going through a divorce, so many of us feel alone. No one understands us completely, including ourselves. We struggle to find the words to describe and understand our experience. One particularly challenging discussion, leaving us grasping for the right words for sure, is the one we must have with our children. We love our children and know that the divorce will definitely impact their lives. We worry about and wonder what is the best way to talk about divorce with our kids? What are things we should say, and what are things we should definitely not say?

If you identify with this, take heart for the proof that you are not alone! It’s textbook normal to have these concerns. This is why we turned to our SAS for Women community. We knew they’d have insights for you on what to say and what not to say to your children during divorce. Below, we have laid out their diverse thoughts. And we thank these moms for taking the time to share and care for you.

1. Never Let Your Kids Feel the Divorce is Their Fault

Jenn from Santa Barbara, CA, emphasizes the importance of not letting your children feel they are to blame for the divorce.

“I would say that one thing to never say to your kids is that the divorce is their fault or that they played any part in their parent’s decision to separate. Kids will inherently feel they are responsible for their parent’s divorce. It’s difficult enough for kids to experience the separation of their parents and the breakup of their family. Any additional conversation about them playing a role in the decision will only make it harder.”

When you first talk with your children about the divorce, try to keep their perspective in mind. Do not assume that they already know they are not to blame. Try to be as straightforward as possible when making this point.

Check out:“How to Tell Your Kids You are Getting Divorced”

2. Instead, Make Them Understand that the Divorce Decision was Made Between Adults

Closely related to the previous advice, Jenn also believes that it is vital for children of a divorce to understand that this was an adult decision. As she suggests,

“Emphasize that the decision to divorce had nothing to do with them. I think it’s wise to tell the kids that the decision to divorce is one that married adults make, but it changes nothing about how each parent feels about their kids. In my experience, this is something to say when you first tell your kids about the divorce and then reiterate along the way so that they hear it multiple times from their parents that the divorce is not their fault.”

Young children often have difficulty understanding that there is not always a correlation between their actions and outside events. Therefore, they might unintentionally blame themselves for the divorce and attempt to think of ways that they might be able to “fix” the “divorce problem.”. Even if you have tried to convey this to them, it can be difficult for children to rid themselves of unnecessary guilt entirely. Consistent reassurance that this was an adult decision and they played no role in it will eventually help them step away from self-blame.

Check out: “7 Ways to Lovingly Support Your Kids Through Divorce.”

3. And Don’t Tell Them It’s Daddy’s Fault, Either

Along the lines of not placing blame, Shushi from Great Britain believes that it is best for you not to place complete and undeniable blame on your children’s father* for the divorce.

“Hell, it may feel like it’s all his fault – everything from the leaky washing machine to the tears that won’t stay inside any longer – but don’t blame him in front of your kids. Your kids will feel they have to take sides, which tears them apart. Or just as bad, they feel they have to act the part of being on your side, even when they’re confused. Acting contrary to their heart’s truth is just as hurtful. Children need the freedom to follow their own feelings and find how to be themselves amid the maelstrom of emotions and the undertow of what we parents want.”

Not placing blame, while possibly difficult, will help your children (and you) heal in the long run. This will allow your child to process their emotions as needed and allow them to continue to foster a relationship with both of their parents. You and your Ex might no longer be married, but he is still your children’s father. Refraining from bad-mouthing or placing blame will allow for easier coparenting and a positive parent-child relationship for everyone involved.

Go deeper and learn why badmouthing your other parent is a bad idea by reading this SAS article.

4. Limit Your Kids’ Exposure to Your Falling Apart

Many moms have expressed concerns and worry about how to present themselves to their children when divorce is happening. It’s natural that as a mom, you want to protect your children from anything that may hurt.

This includes all ugly and upsetting emotions. Your maternal instinct might be to put on a brave face for your kids. As a woman, though, facing some of her hardest days, you could also be breaking down or unable to get out of bed.

Diane, from Salem, Oregon, says more about this and how she struggled to hide her darker emotions from her son. She wants other moms to know …

“What has helped me with all of my feelings is self-care. Finding divorce resources and being a part of a support group,” such as Annie’s Group has really helped, and establishing boundaries.

“I try to make sure I take the weekends as ‘no divorce days.’ No divorce emails, texts, discussions, blogging….We must give ourselves the space to regain clarity and listen to what’s going on in our heads, our hearts, and our bodies so that we can attend to those needs outside of the big D. In some cases, like mine, this is the fight of your life, and you need to be strong and healthy to overcome it.”

Another mother, Kiya, shares,

“I would suggest sheltering your kids from all of the angry emotions. But grieving and hurting shouldn’t be hidden entirely, because they can play a part in showing your children how to deal with changes and loss. What’s best I think is open, honest communication but based on your child’s emotional development.”

What both of these women are suggesting is that you can only expect to show up for your children in difficult times if you also show up for yourself. Having your safe community and clear boundaries are essential for allowing you the space YOU need to process your emotions. Having both of these things to help deal with negative and overwhelming emotions will allow you to engage with your children honestly and age-appropriately.

5. Strive to Keep Communication Open, Healthy, and Age Appropriate

Marilee of Kansas City thinks it’s essential to share positive feelings and thoughts while going through a divorce ….

“…not everything has to be doom and gloom, Good Guy and Bad Guy. Show your children that life is complicated and that you can always aim to take the higher road. My mother always talked badly about my father after they divorced. And she discouraged us from having a relationship with him.  In time, I chose not to visit him so much because I was an angry teen. But my mother never encouraged me to do otherwise. It was her way of “winning.”  Years later, I miss those years I could have had with my dad.  I see now my mother could have done more to nurture that relationship. Instead, she leaned on me like I was her best friend. And now I admit it, I resent her for that.”

Your children are still children, Marilee is saying. We have to be careful, for, in our isolation dealing with divorce, it can be easy to “dump on him” and to turn to our kids for listening about our tale of how we’ve been done wrong. Be careful of parentification, as Marilee suggests, it’s a painful and not easily forgotten place to put your kids.

Check out …

“20 Spot On Steps for How to Coparent Pre and Post Divorce”

“5 Must Do’s When Your Child Refuses to Visit Their Father”

“Parental Alienation Syndrome: What is It and How to Cope”

“What My Grown Up Self Would Tell My Divorced Mom”

6. Finally, Let Your Children Know That Despite the Divorce, They Were Born Out of Love

Your house may have been filled with yelling and chaos. Or, the atmosphere may have been stone cold silent with no obvious signs of a marriage disintegrating. But with divorce a reality now, this confusing time will likely make your children question love, life, and their own reason for being. How could they have been born out of such an unloving relationship as was your marriage?

Helen from New York City cautions all divorcing moms:

“Let your kids know that they were born from love and all the hope you and their father could ever have had for a healthy future. And while the marriage did not work out that way, you must assure your kids, you have no regrets about being their mother.”

This reminder to your children is so important. Through their processing of emotions and feelings, they need to know now more than ever that they are loved and came from a place of love.


No one knows precisely the right and wrong things to say to your children through divorce. So be kind to yourself, you might make mistakes and likely say something you shouldn’t. However, with a community of support and continuing to find the means to care for yourself as a mother and a woman, your unconditional love for your children will help you and them grow through this unexpected turn.


Elizabeth Newland is a third-year law student in Chicago who is committed to children and family rights. She aims to work in a family-related non-profit firm after graduation. 

Whether you are thinking about divorce, dealing with it, or recreating the life you deserve, one thing we see making a significant difference for women is the conscious choice to not do it alone. Since 2012, smart women around the world have chosen SAS to partner them through the emotional, financial, and oftentimes complicated experience of breaking up and reinventing. 

SAS offers all women six FREE months of email coaching, action plans, checklists, and support strategies for you — and your precious future. Join our tribe and stay with us.


*We support same-sex marriages. For the sake of simplicity in this article, however, we refer to your spouse as your “husband” or a “he.”