Is divorce the best emotional decision for you to make right now? When you can’t get your marriage to work, it’s easy to think the grass could be greener somewhere else, but the truth is, it’s just different grass. Take time to decide if you – and your children – would really be better off on the other side of that fence by asking yourself these five questions.
Have I Done Everything I Could To Repair The Marriage? Going to couples therapy is a waste of time and money if you don’t work on 100% of your 50% of the problem. Start examining your own behavior. Do you have an untreated mental illness or addiction? Do you use work, food, substances, or porn to avoid intimacy with your partner? Do you treat your spouse as an opponent instead of a teammate? Do you need to be right more than you need to be married? If so, you haven’t truly committed to repairing the ruptures in your relationship. Good rule of thumb: spend at least six months giving your all to the marriage before you decide it can’t be fixed.
Is My Relationship With Myself Part of the Problem? Even if your spouse has behaved egregiously, you will not find happiness with someone else unless you’re happy with yourself. People who are shame-based often project their feelings onto others. Do you ruminate on the ways your partner has failed you? Do you feel that your happiness depends on his or her moods and behavior? Do you believe that you can’t be content until your career’s in the right place, you have a big enough house, and your children have gotten into the “right” elementary school? Depending on externals for your well-being is a recipe for misery. The key to enjoying life is to be happy with you have, and that starts with you. If you’re self-critical and are secretly convinced there’s something terminally wrong with you, go to individual therapy to repair your relationship with yourself, and then see if you feel better about your marriage.
Do I Have a Handle on Post-Divorce Finances? If your spouse has handled the finances, you need to learn how to manage money before you file for divorce. To do that, you must prepare a monthly budget and figure out how much you’ll need to cover your bills. Will spousal and child support be sufficient – consult with an attorney to find out what you’re likely to get — or will you need to supplement support with your own income? Can you really afford to keep the house, knowing you’ll be responsible for all repairs and upkeep? Or would you be better off financially if you rent? How much will you need for retirement and how will you meet your goal? Visiting a financial planner before you file will help you understand what you need to do to make sure you and your kids are financially stable.
Am I Likely To Get the Custody Arrangement I Want? And What Will I Do If I Don’t? The only person you should consult about custody is an attorney. Your friends and family may be convinced that you’re a much better parent than your ex, but that doesn’t mean your judge will. Most judges want children to have a relationship with both parents – even if one of them struggles with anger management, mental illness, or addiction. Ask an attorney to tell you your best and worst case custody scenarios. Can you live with the worst case? If not, try to resolve your issues with your spouse so you can keep your family together.
Are The Long-Term Consequences of Staying In The Marriage Worse Than Ending It? As difficult as your marriage may be, it is the devil you know. Post-divorce life is the devil you don’t know, and you must be prepared to handle the consequences, many of which will be unforeseen. For instance: some kids are able to make a fairly smooth adjustment to divorce, while others are less resilient. What will you do if your child is one of those? If you and your spouse can’t seem to agree on anything now, what new skills do you need to develop in order to co-parent effectively? Especially if your spouse refuses to co-parent? Are you prepared to downsize your life, perhaps lose some friends, and potentially stay single forever? While you shouldn’t let fear keep you trapped in a dysfunctional or abusive marriage, you also shouldn’t file for divorce without being ready to handle life on your own.
Exploring these questions should help you decide, with confidence, that you’re ready to proceed with divorce – or not. If you stay, you will have empowered yourself, which may have a positive impact on your marriage. If you go, you will also have empowered yourself, which can only have a positive impact on the rest of your life.
If you decide to stay married, legal solutions, such as a reconciliation agreement, can bring you peace of mind. If you decide to move forward with your divorce, it’s important to explore all your options, including low conflict methods that allow you to move on with your life with a settlement that works for you. To learn more, please contact us to schedule an initial attorney consultation. We’re here to help, no matter which direction you choose for the road ahead. Call today: (888) 888-0919.