When you decide you want to get divorced, what you want is a clean break. You want to sign the paperwork and move on with your own lives. You want to put this stage in your life behind you.
However, that’s rarely how it happens. For one thing, divorce itself can take months. Just announcing that you want to split up doesn’t instantly give you the break you’re after.
You also have a lot of details to work out. Maybe you are both named on the mortgage paperwork, the car loan or the credit card account. Maybe you took your spouse’s last name, and you need to change it back. Maybe you use a joint email account or joint bank accounts. It takes time to really cut all these ties.
If you have children together, that’s when there is really no chance of the clean break you’re envisioning. Ending your marriage does not end the parental relationships you will always have with your children, and those relationships will, in turn, always connect you.
The degree to which they connect you does vary. If you share custody, you need to see each other consistently to make custody exchanges and talk about the children’s lives. Even if you have sole custody, your ex may get to visit the children, call them, write them letters or interact with them in some other fashion.
The key isn’t to seek that clean break, but to be realistic about what life is going to be like after the divorce. Then you can look into the steps you need to take to prepare for it.