6 Considerations Before You Pull the Plug
Divorce is one of the major stressful life events, right up there with death of a loved one, a major illness or losing a job. It’s clearly a big decision to decide whether you should or should not get divorced. Our team has compiled a list of things to consider—with or without your spouse to help evaluate whether to part or to work it out. Please leave any tips you would add in the comments section.
- Is your desire to divorce ongoing or temporary? Don’t act on impulse and make a permanent decision based on temporary feelings. Think it through and seek advice from someone with an objective opinion. Gaining clarity takes time, so do not try to force a decision. Write your feelings down, which should help you determine if your issues are a constant problem or arise during certain situations.
- Is your spouse respectful or do they undermine you? After years of research, John Gottman, a marriage specialist, determined that there is a pattern that can predict if a marriage will end in divorce. Gottman found four main indicators that a couple is likely to split: defensiveness, stonewalling, criticism and contempt. Further, the research found that contempt was the leading indicator of divorce where 94% of couples who got divorced cited it as a driving emotion.
- Did you seek help from a 3rd party? In general, it is a good idea to exhaust all the resources at your disposal before deciding to split up permanently. You owe it to yourself and your family to seek the help of a professional and or from trusted counselors. At the very least, you will know that you tried your best and did all you could. Consider marriage counseling, a couple’s retreat, or even individual counseling as ways to work through problems with your spouse before calling it quits.
- Is there a chance of reconciliation? After working through your issues by yourself or with your spouse (see above), do you still want to be with this person? If so, are you both willing to work on the problems you have individually and together? If you do not want to be with your spouse anymore, this is the first step to realizing your relationship is coming to an end. In some cases you may want to be with your spouse but the damage done to the relationship makes it impossible for you to continue.
- Are you prepared for the divorce process? The divorce process is never easy, especially if you and your spouse are not on the same page. Add children or significant assets to the mix and the process will likely be more complicated and costly. If you don’t reach agreement at the beginning the process, chances are that your spouse will contest the divorce. In this instance, you’ll be in a situation where you may want to seek divorce mediation or be prepared for potentially significant costs of attorney fees, and binding decisions made by the court. As an alternative, if you can reach agreement with your spouse, there are resources to help minimize the cost and pain typically associated with divorce. For example Completecase.com is an online divorce form preparation service that guides you through the process, and provides the support you’ll need to select and complete your divorce documents accurately.
- Do you have a realistic idea of life after divorce? There are many changes that will occur after your divorce is finalized. It is important to be prepared for the financial, lifestyle and traditions that will likely change once you get a divorce. If you have children, be ready and willing to accept and console the anger and sadness that will occur due to changes that spur their insecurity and fear of the unknown.
If divorce becomes the only option, be comforted in the fact that many people are able to move on and into a new phase of life after the process and adjustment period. Stay tuned to this blog for tips on getting through the divorce and adjustment processes. Note that the aforementioned tips are opinions only, and are not intended to for couples in abusive situations. If you or someone you know is being abused, consider contacting the appropriate authorities.