Filing for divorce is one of the most significant decisions you’ll make in your life. Not only is the process mentally taxing, but it’s also financially draining. This is why it’s essential to think about the consequences and explore all your options before making rash decisions. Thoughtful planning and preparation can help you make the best decision for you, your spouse, and your children, if you have any. The following are a few essential questions to ask yourself before you go through with a divorce.
Have I sought legal advice?
Talking to an experienced divorce attorney will give you the clarity and perspective you need to make an informed decision before you file for divorce. They’ll be able to explain the complex legal process involved in pursuing this decision and what you can expect to go through during this lengthy, demanding, and expensive procedure. This will help you weigh the consequences of your decision to see if it’s worth the trouble.
Am I being abused?
It’s normal for every couple to fight every once in a while. However, if the fights are not only becoming frequent, but abusive — both physically and emotionally — then divorce might be the best option to remove you and your children from a potentially dangerous situation. Behavior that falls under domestic violence includes physical harm, intimidation, stalking, coercion, threats, and manipulation. If your spouse is treating you in this manner, you should seek immediate help and find a way to safely leave the relationship before you file for divorce.
Have I made efforts to resolve any relationship problems?
If the source of your unhappiness with your marriage has nothing to do with abuse, then you should resolve any problems first before you go forward with the divorce. Determine your primary sources of conflict — whether it be financial issues or a lack of communication — and settle them with your partner first. Seeking the guidance of a third party, such as a marriage counselor, pastor, therapist, or rabbi, is also beneficial.
Can I handle the painful aftermath of the divorce?
Divorce can be a relief from an unpleasant and destructive marriage, but it can also inflict its own share of pain, from loneliness to financial difficulties. You have to be sure that you and your family are prepared for the challenges that you’ll all endure during the divorce process as well as after it, unless the suffering that you experience while trapped in the marriage far outweighs that.
How will this decision affect my family?
Staying together for the kids isn’t the best option in some cases. An unhealthy relationship between parents can be detrimental to the mental and physical well-being of children, but the divorce process can be just as brutal. Think about the repercussions your decision will have on your children and exhaust all other possible options first.
Have I relayed my problems with my partner?
A lack of communication is at the core of most unhappy marriages. Before considering divorce, you have to make sure that you and your partner are actually on the same page regarding your relationship. If you haven’t been open about your frustrations with your partner, you aren’t allowing them to change or understand what it is they’re doing wrong.
Divorce isn’t something you should take lightly. Unless the marriage is dangerous and unsalvageable, you should ask yourself these questions first before going through with your decision.