Filing for divorce is one of the most difficult life-changing decisions in a person’s lifetime and one which many spouses are understandably reticent to embark upon.
Various studies over the years have shown that divorce rates peak at key periods such as couples and families returning home from summer holidays which can put a strain on relationships.
However, on reflection, many divorcees wish they had taken more time to think things through before making the break in haste.
Others regret missing tell-tale signs of an impending split such as a spouse’s increased working hours, spending less time together along with reduced conversation and intimacy.
Before taking the plunge, we urge those in this quandary to consider the following:
Ask yourself why you want a divorce? Has your relationship irretrievably broken down – and is your decision based on emotion or logic? Most importantly, do you still love your partner? If the answer is yes and you feel your marriage is worth salvaging, consider counseling.
Think through how terminating your relationship will impact on your children whose interests should always come first. It is well known that divorce can damage children’s long-term well-being.
Talk to close friends or relatives who will enable you to step back and give you some perspective on the situation.
Work through how your financial situation would change as fear of starting all over again can leave many people in a state of paralysis. This is particularly applicable to spouses who have not had to deal with financial practicalities such as taxes and debts. Would you have sufficient income, where would you live – and how would that work for your children’s parenting plan, schooling and holiday arrangements? Gathering the necessary documentation to understand your finances can help both of you to think practically about what might be achievable before appointing a family lawyer.
Who would be your support network? Which of your friends and family would help with taking children to school, sports activities, and holidays?
Looking at your work and career, would your employer be supportive if you divorced and required extra time off if the children were ill or needed taking to appointments etc.? Also, if you are the spouse who is currently not working and are thinking about divorce, it’s worthwhile to consider returning to some kind form of employment for financial independence and to boost your confidence and self-appreciation.
If after considering these points you decide that divorce is the only way forward, ensure you contact an experienced divorce mediator.