Deciding to divorce is one of the most significant decisions you’ll ever make in your life. There are all sorts of ramifications, especially when children are involved. You can predict some of the consequences, but the sheer number of considerations in a divorce might come as a shock to you. Ask anyone who’s been through the process, and they’ll tell you that they experienced many unexpected complications.
Because the stakes are so high, you should never rush into a divorce. Instead, this is a time for clear heads and calm reflection. Instead of the very final solution of a divorce, a much easier solution may be within reach. So before you start divorce proceedings, here are five critical questions for you to consider.
Do you remember that old Billy Joel hit “Tell her about it”? It could’ve just as easily been titled “Tell him about it,” but this brilliant song underlines the importance of communication. If your partner’s doing something that makes you unhappy, you need to spell it out to them - because they mightn’t realize what they’re doing.
Communication and listening skills are two essential assets in any relationship, but they only work if they’re two-way. Proper, honest communication can resolve many issues and concerns.
Tensions and jealousies can arise as a relationship develops over time, especially when couples have the wrong expectations of each other. Qualities that appear attractive early on in a relationship can become unappealing later on. New babies, child care, and division of household chores often exacerbate such situations. The COVID-19 pandemic also seems likely to impact divorce rates, given the unparalleled disruption in people’s family, work, home, and social lives.
Now, more than ever, communication is vital. Both you and your partner should be frank and honest about what you expect from each other. By discussing things calmly and rationally, it’s much easier to reach a fair compromise and overcome any issues that might be driving you apart.
You may have to confront an uncomfortable truth: your life might be a whole lot better without your once adored partner on the scene. Divorce might also be better for them and your children too.
Sometimes couples stay together for the sake of the children, but it serves no one if there’s a poisonous atmosphere at home. A divorce might mean short-term pain but will give you all long-term gain.
This is the big one. Even if you perceive yourself to be the “wronged” partner, the courts may not take the other party’s wrongs into account when settling, especially in community property states. The courts will generally split everything down the middle, and you may also find that no spousal maintenance is payable. And don’t forget that the divorce process itself can be expensive, especially if it’s contested and goes to court.
A divorce has so many different dimensions - mental, emotional, family, legal, social, residential, and so on - yet it’s often the negative change in your financial circumstances that has the most significant impact on your life.
In most relationships, one partner usually takes the lead in certain areas, like paying the bills, looking after taxes, or taking care of the children. Other chores like cleaning, gardening, and shopping tend to be shared. Once you’re divorced, you won’t have the support and input of your partner in many of these areas.
This can be a real eye-opener. If you’ve never looked after the household finances before, you’re in for a big shock. You’ll also find that simple tasks suddenly become complicated if no one in the house shares the childcare or holds down the fort while you go out for a run.
Of course, people are resourceful, and they find new ways to accomplish tasks. But you should be aware that you’ll almost certainly have to take on new roles and responsibilities if you separate.
It’s not just the divorce that’s painful - even the thought of separation can be hard to bear. Deciding to separate is a big, life-changing decision, meaning that it deserves your careful thought and attention.
So be kind to yourself, and take your time. Don’t be rushed into a hasty decision. Consider all your options. Speak to close family members and friends and ask for their advice and counsel. Better still, speak to your partner. If you want to give it another try, explore whether there’s a realistic chance of reconciliation. The course of true love never did run smooth, but many couples are still happily married, despite hitting a few bumps along the way.
That said, if you're genuinely unhappy and your relationship isn’t working, then separation is probably in the best interests of everyone concerned.
A trusted family lawyer can guide you through all the legal options and describe potential outcomes if you’re considering a divorce. That’s a beneficial service because you may not fully appreciate how the divorce process works or what the aftermath looks like.
An attorney can also advise you on alternatives to divorce. If there’s a chance of a reconciliation, for example, a legal separation might suit both parties better. And finally, should you decide that there’s no alternative, an experienced lawyer can help ensure that you reach the best possible divorce settlement and avoid any expensive mistakes.
Unless you’ve been through a divorce already, you probably won’t be familiar with all the different aspects. That’s where a trusted family lawyer comes in. With their experience, they can explain all the options available to you, advise you on how you might be able to fix your marriage, and help you achieve a fair and equitable settlement if you do decide to divorce. To speak to an attorney about your options and get more information, schedule a free case assessment with Marble today.