January is commonly known as the “Divorce Month.” Just after the holidays and shortly after the New Year’s celebration, a spouse may approach the subject of separation or divorce. Sometimes this comes as a surprise; and in others, it may be anticipated. Either way, this conversation needs careful thought and planning. The tone you set as well as questions you may ask is paramount in beginning the process and determining the type of divorce you will have. Some questions to consider before starting the fateful conversation may be:
1) Were you ever really married? You may have feelings for your partner, but have never created the “us” relationship. The marriage may be two individuals competing with each other while raising children and sharing a home. The relationship may be that of one party being a risk taker and the other being risk adverse. It may be that of one party being controlling with the other submissive. Emotionally, even though opposites attract, life together-legally married-may be not working. Sometimes a marriage may be rehabilitated with counseling; in others, a legal separation or divorce is the answer. Even after divorce, some couples get back together and live as emotional partners without the legality of marriage.
2) Are you sure or is this a phase? If in doubt or if just threatening, counseling may be in order. If angry, try to resolve the source of anger because it will follow you after divorce. For peace of mind, make sure you have tried everything.
3) Is there someone else? Review both relationships; love, marriage, divorce and the options in between. Try to be factual not emotional about the relationships. Divorce ends a marriage and frees each party to make new relationships to new people. Make sure this is what you want.
4) How will the spit affect the kids? If you are in a high-conflict relationship, divorce is sometimes the answer. Constant arguments are not constructive and the kids are the ones who suffer most. If in a low-conflict relationship, timing is a consideration and divorce may be deferred until the kids are at a certain age or leave home. This is one of the reasons that divorce is increasing dramatically with older couples.
5) Can you handle the unpleasant side of divorce? Divorce marks the loss of “the happy family” dream. As cited in Are You Ready for Divorce? , “Here are some rules of thumb: If you don’t want changes to your finances, lifestyle, or traditions, then you are not ready for divorce; if you cannot accept your children’s sadness and anger, then you are not ready for divorce; if you cannot accept times of insecurity, fear, and the unknown, then you are not ready for divorce; if you are not willing to let go of your spouse mentally, emotionally, and spiritually, then you are not ready for divorce.”
6) Are you financially and legally prepared? This includes: researching the types of divorce; identifying a divorce attorney; putting together important financial and legal documents; preparing a financial plan of your lifestyle before and after divorce.
7) What are your expectations? Divorce closes a chapter in your life and opens a new one. Being realistic and prepared for change, positive and negative, can ease the transition.
8) Do you have enough emotional support? This may be family, friends and a counselor should you need one. Pre-and Post-Divorce times are stressful no matter how you plan.
At Stange Law Firm, PC, we offer prospective clients a free and confidential half-hour consultation to talk with an attorney about issues you face and what you can expect if you choose to work with us. Please call us in St. Louis at 314-963-4700 or visit us online at St. Louis MO Divorce Lawyers to schedule an appointment.
Source: Are You Ready for Divorce? 7 Questions to Ask Yourself by Dr. Bruce Derman, Ph.D. and Wendy Gregson LMFT, PsychCentral.com
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