Marriage isn’t always easy. If it feels like you and your spouse haven’t been seeing eye to eye for an extended period, divorce may seem like the best option.
While nearly half of all U.S. marriages end in divorce, calling it quits isn’t always the clearest or easy answer to a marriage that could use a little work.
The divorce process can be lengthy, as well as financially and emotionally exhausting. Whether you have been considering divorce for a while, or your spouse suddenly brought up the subject, there are four things you should discuss before moving forward with a divorce:
Can the Relationship be Repaired?
Relationships need maintenance. When a couple starts dating, their relationship is likely their biggest priority. After marriage, other things such as children, careers, and ailing parents, can put the relationship on the sidelines.
Many couples seem to be on autopilot while others make an effort to make time for one another. When a relationship is in peril, there’s often a lot of blame and guilt, but often not enough resolution.
Before proceeding with a divorce, sit down with your spouse and try to identify all the major conflicts that may be interfering with the health of your relationship. Is it something you did or is it something your spouse did?
Are you both willing to talk it out and seek professional guidance? Try to determine if the problems you and your spouse are having are temporary or if they are indeed unsolvable.
Sometimes all it takes is for a couple to sit down, talk it out, and learn how to maintain and fix areas of weakness in their relationship.
What are the Reasons for Requesting Divorce?
Much like looking at fine tuning some areas in the relationship, it’s important to discuss the reasons behind the request for a divorce. If you have suggested divorce, make sure your spouse knows why and if he or she brought up the topic, ask for an explanation.
Sometimes, couples use divorce as a statement to threaten or as an ultimatum, but may not have a real intention to end the marriage.
Reasons for ending a marriage may include infidelity, spousal abuse, or just because love and care don’t exist in the relationship.
Are You Financially and Emotionally Prepared to Be Alone?
A couple that is truly on the “outs” should not necessarily stay together just because one spouse is emotionally or financially unstable, but it’s an important conversation to have nonetheless. In many relationships, one spouse becomes dependent on the other, and any change in the relationship can have devastating results.
If you are less likely to thrive on independence, it’s important to seek professional help and start taking the reigns in your life, particularly if divorce is in your near future.
“What’s Mine, What’s Yours?”
If it looks like divorce is your best option, it’s a good idea to try and have a civil and mature discussion about the division of assets and other important things before moving forward with the divorce. Many couples have “messy” and drawn out divorces, but if you’re able to be somewhat amicable, it ends up being easier and healthier for everyone involved.
While you will discuss these items with your personal divorce lawyer, you can start to have a conversation with your spouse. Taking the time to work through things with your partner may make the final process of divorce a little less stressful and an easier transition to another stage of your life.
While dating, couples who have children from a previous relationship usually make their current relationship a priority. In some cases, this priority can change almost dramatically after marriage bringing disillusionment to your spouse.
It’s important while dating to maintain a sense of balance and reality to all of your relationships. Your partner needs to understand the parental responsibilities you have and the fact they will be sharing in them as a stepparent. Your children need to understand your relationship with your partner.
As part of your courtship, you should also plan on family dates so your potential spouse can get a feel for life as a blended family before actually formally blending.