The 4 biggest fears amicable couples have in divorce

Fears title image featuring silhouettes of a man, spider, and woman

Even amicable couples can be crippled by the fears that come with a divorce. Find out more about the 4 biggest fears most amicable couples have in divorce, and what can be done to overcome them.

Do you know what ophidiophobia is? (hover here for the answer)

Okay, what about Pteromerhanophobia? (hover here for the answer)

And Trypanophobia? (hover here for the answer)

There are some interesting fears among the 400 recognised phobias—although interesting is probably not how you’d phrase it if you’re part of the 13% who suffer from some sort of phobia.

Recently, Nationwide listed several phobias along with statistics showing how unlikely it is that a person suffers harm due to the cause of the phobia.

Of course, it’s one thing to know the statistics. It’s quite another to hold yourself together in the presence of a terrifying frog (if you’re a ranidaphobe) or a hideous moth (if you’re a mottephobe).

Just as some phobias are common and well-recognised (arachnophobia, anyone?), there are common fears people have concerning divorce. In this article we’ll look at the 4 biggest fears amicable couples have in divorce.

[BTW: You may also find it helpful to talk things through with Lumi, the world’s first AI separation guide. It’s completely free.]

Fears regarding the children

The most widespread of the big fears felt by people going through a divorce affects those couples with children. In a recent study1, 94% of those involved expressed concern about what the separation would do to their children.

This fear, in fact, is at the heart of many couple’s desire to divorce amicably. Divorcing parents worry that the divorce will affect their children’s wellbeing, and they recognise the need to preserve the relationship for their children’s sake.

This fear can take different forms.

Some fear that the divorce will lead to uncertainty for the children. If divorcing couples themselves are uncertain about the process, it is only natural to wonder about the impact of uncertainty on the children of divorce. And the uncertainty is very real. Children wonder who they will live with? They wonder if it was all somehow their fault. Old routines are disrupted, and their circumstances are forever altered.

Many divorcing parents fear that their children won’t be able to cope. They worry about their health and wellbeing, and whether they will be able to support them.

There is also the fear that children will feel abandoned or let down. When a marriage breaks down a wife and husband leave each other, but they fear that the children will think their mother or father has left them in the process.

Fears regarding the cost

Fears regarding cost are only slightly less widespread than fears regarding the impact of divorce on children. 92% of people indicated they were concerned about the cost of the divorce.

That’s 9 out of 10 people. That means nearly all couples who want to separate and divorce amicably are concerned about the financial cost of divorce.

This highlights the uncertainty and volatility inherent in the traditional divorce process.

In examining what divorcing people themselves have to say, it seems a lot of this concern is grounded in a fear and mistrust of lawyers.

For many, the cost of engaging a lawyer is a great unknown and plays into the fear that they will walk away with nothing. Even though amicable couples set out to divorce in a collaborative, mutually agreeable manner, there is always the fear that things will break down and a legal fight will see them end up with no money at all.

Popular culture’s narrative around lawyers being more concerned with maximising billable hours than with the needs of their clients can be paralysing – causing well-intentioned couples to carry on without direction or advice.

This fear leads us to the third fear, a fear of the outcome not being fair.

Fears regarding fairness

Fairness, and the fears surrounding it, are significant issues for people going through a divorce, with 89% indicating they were concerned about how fair the outcome would be.

That’s nearly 9 out of 10 people fearing they might be on the wrong end of a settlement. And this is coming from people who are not out for blood, but who want to do things right. This fear is widespread even among those who have agreed to separate amicably, people who want to divide their assets in a way that is fair to both of them.

These fears can come from friends and family who feed people’s fears about the outcome being fair. Fairness is easy to agree on in principle, but basic human psychology makes it difficult for even the most amicable of couples to agree on specifically what that looks like.

People find themselves hostage to their fears. Some aren’t sure if an outcome is fair, but go along with things because they don’t want to create waves. Others act on their fears by putting a stop to any talk of the settlement, preferring to remain in limbo for months or years rather than risk an unfair outcome.

Fears regarding time

The last of the 4 big fears divorcing people have has to do with how long the separation process can take.

People expect the separation process to stretch out a bit, with most thinking it will take between 3 and 12 months, but many are concerned that things will drag out without an endpoint to work towards.

This very is well-founded, especially for those looking to separate amicably. The average time to a post-divorce financial settlement in Australia is 1-3 years. Our study revealed the 6 stages most divorcing couples go through, most amicable separations do inevitably derail, trapping couples in limbo.

Some people don’t mind the time it takes, as long as the process stays amicable. For others, the lack of forward progress makes them feel anxious. Things tend to get negative the longer the process takes. What might start as an amicable separation can become confrontational as the process drags on.

If there was a timeline, it would be easier to know that you’re on the right path. But without that timeline, it’s easy to get caught up in the fear that you’re floundering and getting nowhere.

How to deal with the fears

It’s natural to fear the impact of divorce on your children. In fact, it’s a large part of the reason we created the Adieu process in the first place. It’s why the first value outlined in our Positive Separation Manifesto puts the needs of the children ahead of everything else.

We value focusing on the needs of our kids ahead of our own needs

So, if you’re looking for help and support in your divorce process, and you’re worried about your children, you can rest assured that we’ll help you both work amicably to reach the best outcome for the whole family.

The Adieu process also helps those who fear the costs of divorce. It’s a fixed-cost to get our help and support, so you don’t have to worry about ballooning fees swallowing up all your money. Instead of crippling fear, there’s peace-of-mind knowing exactly how much your divorce will cost.

To ensure fair solutions for all involved, we created the Concur Engine. It uses independent legal advice and machine learning to calculate the fairness of a potential settlement. It’s not magic, but it does take the guesswork out of knowing whether an outcome is fair or not.

Finally, Adieu is great for those concerned about the time their divorce might take. Instead of dragging on for years, you can be done in weeks. We’ll give you a timeline and provide support and coaching every step of the way. Check out Adieu Assist to see for yourself.

If you’re looking for a solution to the fears that have trapped you and stopped your divorce dead in its tracks, find out how Adieu can help you get the best, fairest outcome for the whole family quickly, and all without worrying about breaking the bank.


  1. ^ Living in Limbo: The Separation Experience in 2018 ^