Before you file for divorce, it is important to review your situation and determine if divorce is best for you. In some cases, divorce is mutual. Both spouses recognize that their marriage is no longer working, and they seek divorce as a solution to this problem and the hope for happier days. However, in other cases, only one spouse wants a divorce, and the other is blindsided by divorce papers and against the divorce. If you feel that your marriage is still worth saving, and you want to try to stop the divorce that your spouse seems to want, there are a few steps that you can take.
Listening to Your Spouse
The first step to take is to remain calm. This is certainly not the time to overreact and start a fight. Don’t approach your spouse angrily or act petty about the divorce papers – this will only make your spouse defensive and more confident in their decision to file. Instead, try to talk rationally and calmly with your spouse. Sit down with them and ask why they filed for a divorce.
At this time, you need to genuinely listen to your spouse. When you sit down with your spouse to talk about divorce, don’t be blinded by tunnel vision. You shouldn’t be thinking, “I have to make him see that this is the wrong decision” or, “I have to convince her that she is wrong”. Now is not the time to dismiss your spouse’s concerns and make the conversation about you and what you want. Consider the concerns that your spouse has about your marriage and accept the legitimate claims that they make. Don’t diminish your spouse’s unhappiness or brush off what they say. You need to be completely engaged in this conversation so that you can communicate openly and honestly with your spouse.
Reflecting on Your Relationship
At this time, you need to take responsibility for your part in your marital issues. Clearly, if your spouse has filed for divorce, they are unhappy. Reflect on what you have done to contribute to these issues. Own up to your mistakes. At this time, you should validate your spouse’s feelings and concerns so that you can truly make positive changes in your marriage.
Reflect on your conversation and your marriage. After a long talk with your spouse, you need to be honest with yourself about what you want now. Even if you were initially reluctant about getting a divorce, perhaps your discussion with your spouse made you see that the marriage is broken beyond repair. If this is the case, you should begin preparing for divorce.
On the other hand, if you still want to work on your marriage, ask your spouse to revoke the divorce papers, at least temporarily. If your spouse is really set on the divorce papers, try to compromise. Say something like, “Please, let’s work on this for one month. If you still don’t see any changes, we can go ahead with the divorce”. Suggest marital counseling, spending quality time together just the two of you, and ways to bond as a family. These attempts are worth a shot if you want to try to save your marriage.
Saving your marriage will depend largely on your spouse. If they have given up on the marriage, you really can’t do anything to make it work. A marriage needs two people to be invested in the relationship, and if your spouse isn’t, it doesn’t matter how much you want the marriage to continue. If you find that divorce is inevitable, you should contact a divorce lawyer and proceed with the divorce.
If you are looking to save your marriage, you might consider marriage counseling. There are many reasons for couples to seek out marriage counseling, such as:
- Lack of communication
- Unhappiness in the marriage
- Romantic issues
- Financial issues
Marriage counselors are trained to help their clients work through any problems that they might be facing. Sometimes all a couple needs is the push to get their communication skills with each other back on track, and a counselor may help them do that. Counselors are experts in figuring out any underlying problems that couples are not fully aware of. What’s more, a marriage counselor can act as an unbiased mediator in your discussions and help you compromise. If you are having marital difficulty, the sooner you and your partner seek out a marriage counselor, the better off you will be.
When looking for the proper counselor for you and your spouse, ask for referrals from people you know. If you do not want anyone to know that you are seeking outside help with your marriage troubles, then make sure to do research on all potential counselors to see if they are suitable and trained enough to handle your problems. Some things you might want to ask any potential marriage counselors are as follows:
- Do you normally focus most of your practice on marriage counseling?
- How much training and experience do you have in dealing with couples?
- What is your approach to counseling couples?
- Will you meet with my spouse and I separately, together, or both?
Telling Your Children
If you’ve determined that getting a divorce is in your family’s best interest, you will have to inform your children of your decision. Follow these tips to tell your children about the divorce in the right way, and to help them through this process.
Make sure that divorce is inevitable. If you’re just toying with the idea of divorce, you probably don’t want to inform your children just yet. Make sure that you and your spouse are on the same page and that you are definitely getting a divorce before you tell your kids.
You should also tell your children together. It will be best if you and your spouse are present when you tell your children about the divorce. Establishing a united front will help your children understand that both parents will be there for them no matter what happens.
Helping Your Children
Prepare for any reaction. Your children may have various reactions, from anger to sadness, to shock. Your children might even seem happy depending on the situation. You and your spouse should prepare for any of these scenarios and understand that these reactions are perfectly normal. You should encourage your children to express whatever emotions they are feeling at this time.
In addition, make it clear that the divorce is not about them. So many children blame themselves when their parents get divorced. You need to make it clear that the children are not to blame whatsoever. You should make it clear that both parents still love their children. Many children feel abandoned when they cannot see one parent frequently due to divorce. Make it clear that you and your spouse love your children very much and your children will have the opportunity to see both parents even after the divorce is finalized.
After you talk to your children about divorce, discuss what will change and what will stay the same. Will the children have to move? Which parent will they primarily live with? Will they have to change schools? Your children will have these questions. Make sure that you provide the answers.
Also, make sure that you check in with your kids frequently. After the initial conversation, make sure that you keep the lines of communication open when it comes to discussing the divorce. Understanding how your children feel and what they are struggling with will make you better equipped to help them.
Telling Other Loved Ones
Sometimes it can be difficult to work monumental events into everyday conversations. But, if you are getting a divorce, you need to tell your friends and family. Here are some tips to help with the process.
First, you should prepare what you are going to say. Your announcement doesn’t have to be memorized, but you should think about what you want to say and how you want to say it. Also, accept that there is no good time to make the announcement. Telling people that you are getting a divorce will probably be a little awkward. Just come out and say that you are getting a divorce instead of trying to build up to it. Then, once the news is out, you can begin explaining why.
When telling loved ones about the divorce, you should spare people the details. Sharing the intimate details of the divorce will probably just hurt them more than anything. Pick a friend or family member that you are very close to confide in, but especially when it comes to your parents and grandparents, you might want to be selective in what details you want to give.
In addition, you should try to remain platonic. If possible, try to show your friends and family members that you don’t expect them to take sides in the divorce. Simply explain that you would appreciate their support, but make it clear that your ex isn’t an enemy.
Finally, you should do what feels comfortable for you. All of these tips are merely suggestions. Make sure that you do what is right for you and your spouse and that you feel comfortable with how you are handling the situation.
In order to save yourself some trouble, keep this in mind; you never want to enter the divorce process unprepared. By the time you file for divorce, you should already have a plan in motion to help you divide your assets and debt and help you get back on your feet once the divorce is finalized. You need to start thinking about the legal and financial ramifications of your divorce.
Begin looking into individual health care, because you will need it once you are no longer married. In addition, you’re going to have a ton of paperwork to gather such as titles to property (whether owned jointly or independently), titles to vehicles, or real estate. This will help you prove what you own so that you can keep as many of your assets as possible. Take inventory of what you own that is valuable and consider what you really want to keep in the divorce. Tax information and birth certificates should also be on hand, as they will be necessary once the divorce is filed. In addition, collect bank statements and statements that outline the debt you have (both jointly and independently). Only by doing this can you get a clear picture of what debt you owe and what assets you are entitled to keep.
At this point, you need to get organized. If you consult a financial planner in the early stages, you can prepare for legal fees, financial concerns, and how you will support yourself once you are single. Open your own bank account so that you can start severing financial ties to your spouse. If you have credit cards in both of your names, cancel them.
You should also begin thinking about how to split up child custody if you have children with your spouse. If you think that your spouse will fight for sole custody of your children, prepare a strong case as to why it is in your children’s best interest for you to have at least partial custody. One way to do this is by remaining a strong presence in your children’s lives. If you attend school meetings and after school activities, it will show a judge down the line that you are an active part of your children’s lives and that they need you.
What is the Best Time of Year to Get a Divorce?
Once you decide that you definitely want to file for divorce, you are faced with an important question, “What is the best time of year to get a divorce?” There is no real “perfect time” to get a divorce. It all depends on you and your family because everyone is different. If you are thinking about getting a divorce because of some sort of abuse, then the best time is now. If your spouse is putting you or your children in any sort of danger or harming anyone in any way, you should contact a divorce attorney as soon as possible.
In addition, if there is no rush on starting the divorce process then it is said that January is the best month. Just in that month, the number of filings is one-third more than normal.
In recent years, January has been nicknamed “Divorce Month.” To most people, the first of January signifies a time for changes, resolutions, and a new start. It is the end of the holiday season and the beginning of the cold winter months. The holidays are normally supposed to be a happy time for most families. It is a time to give thanks for the things you have and to celebrate with the ones you love.
Unpopular Times to Divorce
From October through December, there are many celebrations that take place, most of which your kids are very big fans. That is why getting a divorce anytime right before January probably is not the best idea. Springing a divorce on your children during the holiday season could cause them to have negative associations with the holidays for the rest of their lives.
Another reason why January is a popular month for divorce filings is that by starting at the beginning of the year, your divorce may be finalized by the end of the year, meaning that you may file the next calendar year taxes as a single person. January also marks the last shopping spending spree until the next holiday season so at this time, most people will have all their finances in order with no big purchases coming up.
Summertime divorce rates are rather low compared to January. This is mainly because summer is a time for weddings, vacations, and family fun. The kids are home from school until September so it is not a time to cause any family troubles.
If you realize that divorce is the best thing for your situation, you can learn more about the process on this website. To talk to a lawyer about your divorce, contact us at 203-925-9200.