Divorce can be a scary, painful, expensive and complicated process. But, it has its place in today’s society because it does serve a valuable purpose beyond fattening some attorney’s pocket. It allows for a legal division of property, finances and parenting responsibilities – and grants the partners the freedom to go their separate ways.
When the fairy tale fades and you’re looking at your options, how do you know if divorce is a viable decision for you? Here’s a checklist of considerations to reflect upon, before you take your marriage apart – brick by brick.
Remember why you got married
Your wedding day is supposed to be one of the happiest days of your life. Regardless of whether your wedding was picture-perfect or as disastrous as any hour of reality television, it only marks a moment. It is the day of the ceremony that announces to the world that you pledge yourself to another person. While it is a significant moment in time, what is more important is how you got there… and that is what you need to remember. Whether you married for love, money, stability or the baby on the way – apparently you thought you had at least half a chance of a happy life, or you most likely wouldn’t have said, “I do!” – or you said it anyway, knowing it was a mistake.
What has changed?
Most people have a game plan for building a life together. More often than not, situations will arise that cause plans to change. People change through the course of time as well. Has your partner changed so significantly that you don’t recognize them as the person you married, or are you the one who has evolved? People can grow apart. The question is, is the distance so great that there is no chance of reaching across the void to re-establish some kind of connection, and get things back on track?
Understand your unhappiness
Often times, life and the challenges it brings can cause a great deal of tension and unhappiness. Take a long hard look at why you are unhappy. Just as happiness starts within, so does misery. While your partner may have promised to love, honor and cherish you, there is only so much a person can do to try and make you happy – the rest is up to you! Will leaving your partner solve your problems, or are your problems coming from you? Many people have sought divorce thinking it was the path to joy, only to find that they were still miserable, and now alone.
Broken vows, broken trust
A common reason to seek divorce is betrayal. Whether you are the cheater or the one being cheated on, take a moment to consider what brought you to this place. People who are happy in their marriage will rarely stray from it. Some people can work through and forgive broken vows, and their marriage can become stronger because of it. Other people can’t. Most people don’t know for sure how they will handle such a situation, unless and until they find themselves in it.
What about the children?
Children are affected by divorce. It’s an unavoidable reality. Likewise, they are also affected by a bad marriage. If you are a parent, your decisions are going to affect your kids. Whether you divorce or stay married, just be prepared to see your kids through the consequences of your actions. Just remember, you are the adult and you call the shots, and there are times where your marriage is a separate entity from your family.
Deciding to divorce
Try to look at things objectively, from every angle. The grass tends to look greener on the other side of the fence, for perception is typically reality. If you leap the fence, will you run forward into life, or stand peering through the rails at what you’ve left behind? There are countless reasons to decide to divorce, but coming to the divorcing conclusion is only the first step of the process. As difficult as that decision may be, there is still a chain reaction of hard decisions that must follow.
The reality of divorce
Lives must be detangled and divided, as will property and assets. Someone, or both, will have to move out of your home. Two income households will be cut to one, and both parties involved will have to stand on their own. Custody issues can get pretty ugly, and status and stature often will fall. You can have a great attorney and spend years in court, but you can never walk away with it all. These are all things that will need to be addressed, and preparing to handle them can be difficult.
When to decide
You can choose to leave a relationship any day of any week. However, if you or your children are beaten, harmed or abused, then today is probably a good day to make the decision to go. Otherwise, you most likely have some time to think things through, to try and fix what is broken, or to wait for the day when you know what to do. Marriage is a big step, but divorce is often a bigger one. Know your rights, get legal advice and emotional support and follow where your spirit leads you. Remember, you can decide to take a break to get some perspective without getting a divorce.
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