Few people who make the decision to divorce do so lightly. Divorce usually comes after a great deal of thought and even some actions aimed at putting the relationship back together. When that fails, then we usually know we are facing divorce.
Before you do go down that road, however, there are 10 questions you should ask yourself to ensure you have examined your situation from all sides:
1. Have I made it clear to my spouse what my concerns are about our marriage?
Relationships can fall apart for all kinds of reasons, but one of the most prevalent is lack of communication. If you have not spoken your full truth to your partner about your marriage, you need to do so. You may still divorce, but at least you will know you’ve done all you could to make the marriage work.
2. Is my decision to divorce mindful or emotional?
Heading into a divorce full of anger and resentment can not only make for a painful process for everyone involved, it can also be a sign that you have not resolved your feelings about your spouse and there may be some work to do. If you are mindful about your decision, you will probably find that you approach divorce without any strong emotions — meaning you are ready to let go.
3. Who else is affected by the divorce?
Obviously if you have children, they will be the ones you are most concerned about being negatively affected by your divorce. Are you ready to deal with their disappointment, fear and anger? What about friends and family members who may take your spouse’s side? Are you ready to lose those relationships? Will you be able to detach mentally and emotionally from your spouse? If any of your answers is no, you might want to reconsider your decision.
4. Will I be happier alone?
Your marriage may be in crisis, but it’s familiar. Your life after divorce will be unfamiliar. Are you ready to be on your own, knowing that the future is uncertain? Have you considered what you will be giving up?
5. Why do I want a divorce?
If you are using the threat of divorce as a way to control your spouse, you will be disappointed. The only thing divorce accomplishes is ending a marriage. It will not give you power over your spouse nor change his or her behavior.
6. Have I made every effort to make it work?
A successful marriage depends on the effort both spouses put in to making it work. Before you file for divorce, take a look at your role in creating the fissure running through your relationship. Have you made your spouse a priority? Do you avoid intimacy, substituting work, food or alcohol for time with your spouse? Do you have a mental illness or addiction feeding your unhappiness? If you are just sitting back and waiting for your spouse to change, you are not doing the necessary work to repair your relationship.
7. Am I prepared for the financial ramifications of divorce?
You will likely not be able to maintain your current lifestyle after you divorce, since the income that supported one household now must support two. If you are not prepared for the financial sacrifices that must be made, you may not be ready for divorce.
8. Am I ready to handle the things my spouse took care of?
If your spouse has been responsible for home maintenance and repair, paying the bills, doing the taxes, and a bunch of other stuff, you will need to prepare yourself to shoulder those responsibilities after you divorce.
9. Can I co-parent successfully with my spouse?
If you go into a divorce angry you will likely come out of it the same way, which makes co-parenting more difficult than it needs to be. You will need to be able to set aside any bad feelings you have toward your spouse for the greater good of your children, who need both parents participating actively in their lives.
10. How do I keep from making the same mistake again?
One of the best ways to succeed where you have failed in the past is to own your part in the failure of your marriage. Once you acknowledge your role in a broken relationship, you can work on avoiding those same mistakes.
It is important that you do not wait too long to retain an attorney when you are facing a family law issue. Delays can cost you valuable legal rights, and you want to make sure that you have the advice and support you need to make the best decisions for you and your family long after the divorce settlement is reached. Contact us today for your free consultation.