Some describe divorce as a purely emotional time. The love that you once felt has faded. You are starting a new chapter in your life. You may grieve the relationship you lost, you may feel angry with your ex or you may even feel excited about what the future holds. No matter how it plays out, emotions take center stage.

Others describe it as a business transaction. You signed a contract. So did your spouse. That contract legally bound you together as a couple. You now simply have to break off the contract and decide how you’ll move forward, considering things like asset division and parenting time. It’s just a legal change so that the state knows you’re not married.

These feel like very different perspectives, so which one is it? Is divorce a time for emotion or a time for calculated business dealings?

The truth is that it is both. The emotional side exists because that’s how the relationship started. You fell in love, and you wanted to get married. You can’t ignore that change when you head for divorce, and you shouldn’t, either.

At the same time, there is a practical legal side that has nothing to do with emotion. You do have to make legal choices that impact you, your spouse and your children. You may even have documentation, like a prenup, that plays a significant role in defining your rights. It does feel like breaking up with a business partner.

What you need to do is find the balance between these two sides. They’re both important. Successfully navigating a divorce means dealing with both of them.