Are you contemplating divorce but feel paralyzed by the weight of the decision? If your marriage is on the rocks, it can feel overwhelming trying to determine if your grounds for wanting to split are rooted in reasons that will feel important a year or two down the road, or if you and your spouse are just navigating a rough patch of life. As a family law firm, we are here to help guide our clients through the choppy waters of marital dissolution, but even more so our goal is to help them create better lives for themselves—for this reason, it’s important to us that our clients feel self-assured in their decision to pursue a divorce and begin their journey down this path. Thus, before filing for divorce, we encourage you to take the time to contemplate these three questions so that you can move forward with divorce confidently, and without regret:
Have You Considered Alternative Options?
Do you still care deeply for your spouse, but you feel pushed to the edge due to a particular point of contention, a power struggle, or a decline in intimacy? For example, perhaps you would choose to continue a relationship with your spouse if they could learn to curb their anger, communicate better or be responsible with finances. If you still love your spouse but feel at your wits end with a certain problem area, it might be wise to consider undergoing couples therapy before filing for divorce—doing so could give you both the opportunity to address the primary issues that are chipping away at the foundation of your marriage and try to remedy the situation.
In truth, most people still care, and will always care to a degree, about their spouse even when undergoing a divorce. After all, they are someone you once loved, dreamt with, and built a life with. Still caring does not mean that a divorce isn’t in your best interest, but before moving forward, make sure that you can look back on the relationship and confidently tell yourself that you gave it your all in trying to mend the cracks—doing so can provide profound peace of mind during and after a dissolution.
What is Your Intention for Wanting a Divorce?
Before filing for divorce, ask yourself what you’re hoping to accomplish. The ideal answer would be gaining the freedom to move forward from a toxic of unfruitful relationship to achieve a healthier and more fulfilling life. However, all too often we see individuals who threaten divorce with the hopes that doing so will spur their spouse into action out of the fear of loss. The purpose of a divorce is to end a marriage—if you’re threatening divorce to accomplish anything else, such as forcing your spouse to listen to you, to gain the upper hand, to establish power over your spouse, or to strong arm them into seeing things your way, you may be more attracted to the idea of divorce because of the leverage it provides you, rather than the actual separation it will provide. Before filing, ensure that your reason for moving forward with a dissolution is sound and rooted in honest intention.
Are Your Responding out of Emotion or Reason?
While divorce is often the culmination of hurt, anger, disappointment and countless disagreements over the course of many years, make sure that you’re not moving forward with a divorce directly after a heated argument, or while you’re in the thick of emotional distress. While emotional in nature, a divorce should not be a direct and immediate reaction to escalated anger, even if the word was thrown on the table in the heat of a moment. Divorces that are pursued out of anger often lead to contentious trials and a deep sense of resentment long after the marriage is dissolved. While you cannot control how your spouse reacts, you can control how you reason and respond. If possible, strive to make clear decisions about your marriage and divorce outside of heightened emotions—doing so can help create sound decisions that will stand strong and carry you confidently throughout your divorce proceedings. If you can untangle yourself from the thick of your emotions and confidently state “I respect my spouses right to their own decisions and I have given my all to fight for this relationship, but I no longer have any more to give. I believe that I would be healthier moving forward separate from them, and am at peace with the decision to close this chapter of my life”, then you may be in a place where a divorce is the best, and healthiest, option for you.
Divorce is a decision that should not be made lightly or without much contemplation. Before filing for divorce, allow yourself time to work through your options, your motives and your emotions. More than anything, our firm wants to ensure that our clients are pursuing the path that will lead to their greatest fulfillment, which is why we also advocate for careful consideration before moving forward with a dissolution. If you are in need of contact information for couple’s or individual therapy, we would be happy to connect you with professionals who can help you and your spouse discern the best path for your marriage. Should the time come that a dissolution feels inevitable, we are here to help you begin laying the brickwork for a better path towards a brighter future.