July 4 is a special day of the year for me. I love this country very much, and Independence Day celebrates the great experiment in democracy that has allowed us to become a nation moving toward its 250th year. It’s a remarkable accomplishment that is all the more incredible when we consider how challenging it is to keep a democracy intact.

What’s all the more remarkable is how it started: It was people who were dissatisfied with how they were being treated. They felt they were being controlled and even misled, and they ultimately determined that they wanted to make their own choices and control their own destiny. While they wanted to keep the doors open to a cooperative and even friendly relationship with Britain, they also believed they’d be better on their own — specifically calling for “the pursuit of happiness” in their vision for the future.

That’s remarkably similar to how a number of people come to decide they want to divorce. While a number of couples could stay together, and might stay in marriages for longer than they really want to, they eventually arrive at the idea that the pursuit of happiness goes hand in hand with their independence. At the end of the day, unhappily married people don’t want to keep fighting or keep feeling sad or angry or depressed: They just want to have the chance at happier post-divorce lives for themselves and their children.

In a best-case scenario, divorcing couples can agree on the two biggest obstacles that they face: How to fairly split up the assets in the marital estate, and how to create a calendar that gives each parent sufficient parenting time to continue developing relationships with their kids. As we all know, that’s not necessarily the scenario all couples face, which is where lawyers come in.

Even if you are in agreement with your soon-to-be-ex over what to do, it’s best to involve a family lawyer to make sure that your interests are protected and there’s nothing in the process that you’re overlooking. But if you’re not seeing eye-to-eye with your spouse on how to divorce, that’s where choosing the right family lawyer can make the difference between what you pay, what levels of frustration you might experience, and how long it takes to get divorce.

At the Law Office of Lisa A. Vance, we know that getting to independence isn’t a one size fits all process. Some couples are best served by collaborative law or mediation, and a number of lawyers on our team are practiced in those forms of what’s known as alternative dispute resolution. Of course, some divorces require litigation to be settled, and we’re able to defend your interests in the courtroom should it get that far.

Though the divorce process is different for everyone, the ending means that you get to experience the feeling of independence and whatever that means for you. It might be joy, it might be relief, it might be a quiet peace. Whatever it is, know that you’ll be able to experience it at the end of your path through divorce—and you’ll then be able to forge whatever path you choose.