What should you consider before saying the D (divorce) word?
Divorce isn’t a simple solution that solves your marriage problems. Divorce is messy. Fairly often, especially if there are kids involved, the problems will still be there after the divorce. Here are something to think about when considering the question:
- Have you done your research? Find out what your rights and obligations are with regards to finance, spousal support, child custody, and childrearing. There are quite a few good books out there (see resource under relationship) and seminars that educate you on the basics of divorce from legal requirements and obligations to co-parenting and moving on after divorce. If you need pointers on finding good seminars or resources in your area, reach out to a local Marriage and Family Therapist or contact me if you live in SF Bay Area. Get a realistic view of what your life would be like after divorce with thoughtful considerations toward budgets, living arrangements, co-parenting issues, kids reactions, dating, and changes in your social relationship and support system.
- Is your problem with your spouse going to go away if you are divorced?
- If you don’t have kids, ask yourself if the problem you’re experiencing is part of your relationship pattern. Evaluate what’s your part in getting to this place in your marriage and are you ready to make changes so you don’t repeat the same behaviors? Let me be clear that I’m not advocating for you to stay if you’re in an abusive or unhealthy relationship. But it is important to learn and grow from normal relationship strains.
- If you have kids, do you imagine that parenting your kids would be easier if you can have your way? Unless one of the parents is proven to be unfit to parent by the court, remember that in most cases, you will have to split parenting duty in time and finance. There will be things that you will have no control over when your children are with their other parent. For example, if the other parent wants to take your kids for a haircut or ear piercing, you can’t do much about it. You will have to make even more compromises on education, nutritional choices, medical choices, and even control of computer/cell phone usage.
- Are you repeating your past? Most couples are stuck with the same fights that just get rehashed over and over again. When you are trying to resolve your problems the same way every time and it isn’t working, it’s time to try a different strategy. Talking to a therapist might help you come up with other ways of solving issues.
- Do you have realistic views of long term relationship? The moment we humans commit to another person, that person suddenly becomes a lot more annoying. Although you might enjoy the company of your coworkers and friends in small doses, if you had to live with them day in and day out, they might not look so attractive. A lot of personal growth and healing can happen in a relationship and it can be really rewarding to work through tough issues in a long term committed relationship.
When you have carefully thought out your decisions and prepared for the process of going through separation and divorce, you can act with more clarity and limit the amount of conflict and reduce damage to your children. There are resources out there to help you transition into single-hood or single-parenthood as smooth as possible in the otherwise painful and messy process. If you would like additional resources or help considering if divorce may be right for your situation, please call me at 650-397-1376 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d be glad to help you make decisions that are right for you.