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Couples in a well-functioning marriage work together as a team and rely on each other for help, comfort, mutual problem-solving, and enjoyment.

When a marriage breaks down or gets on shaky ground, each person begins to lose trust in the other and in the relationship and starts to think in terms of protecting himself or herself.  This is because in a separation or divorce, the same kind of sharing can’t continue as it did when the couple was a unit. Major decisions will have to be made about the home, the support and care of the children, the support of a dependent spouse, and any retirement accounts or other assets, which may advantage one person and disadvantage the other. The parties’ interests are not the same when it comes to a separation or divorce, but rather, each has a separate interest to protect.

When you are separating or divorcing, or when that seems like it could be a possibility, it is important for you to start learning about the law and about the processes available.  You need to know what decisions get made, how they are made, and how that can affect you and your children.  You need to understand your rights and the various ways of protecting them.

It is natural that there will be conflict when spouses are separating, as their own personal interests differ from each other. This does not have to mean that you can’t work on those differences in a cooperative way, while still protecting your rights.  If you are able to do that, you both will save a lot of stress and money.

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