The decision to start the divorce process is anything but or fun, and you have some serious soul-searching to do if you're considering ending your marriage. Soon-to-be-divorced partners need to ask themselves how a divorce will affect their financial, familial, social and emotional status, and, sometimes, the answers are not comforting. To clarify your options, here's are some questions you should ask yourself to determine if you’re ready to get divorced.
1: Is Divorce Really Necessary?
Divorce sucks. Even an online divorce takes time and costs money, not to mention the emotional toll a dissolution of marriage can have on an individual.. But before you print up the paperwork and head to the courthouse, have you tried couples' therapy or taking time apart? Talking with your clergy? Trial separation? You owe it to yourself, if you do wind up leaving, to at least be satisfied that you tried everything you could to hold your marriage together.
2: How Much Do You Like Your House?
Most of the time, divorcing partners split the marital estate down the middle and take half of the assets they used to hold together. Almost nobody gets 100 percent of the things they want if any of it is what’s called Marital Property (i.e. stuff you gained while married), and the stuff you lose might be really important to you. The car you shared, the life savings you two contributed to and the equity in your house are all potentially up for grabs in a divorce, so you need to decide in advance whether leaving is worth losing any of these possessions. If you're not comfortable with that, you may have to take preliminary steps to protect the objects and assets you can't do without.
3: Does Your Religion Influence Your Decision?
For some people, the religious implications of a divorce are slim to nonexistent. For others, their religion is strongly opposed to divorce. How important this is to you is, of course, a matter of your personal faith, but going against something as central to you as the religion you believe in is not to be done lightly. It can cause a great deal of discomfort if you believe that you've done the wrong thing. If you're a person of faith, consider scheduling an in-person meeting with your pastor, priest or rabbi to talk things through, either alone or with your spouse. Even if you decide to go against your clergy's advice, you'll be doing it with clear eyes and a reconciled conscience.
4: How Will The Divorce Affect Your Families?
Marriage is more than two people coming together; it's the joining of two families full of brothers and sisters, parents and in-laws. News of your divorce might be difficult for your own family to hear, and you probably can't afford to completely disregard that, but it can also mean separation from any in-laws you've grown to love over the years. If your spouse has siblings you like to go fishing with, for instance, that relationship can be very difficult to maintain if they feel pressure to choose sides in your split. Apply this pressure to the whole list of friends you and your spouse have in common, and you'll have an idea of how the divorce you're considering might affect the people who care for you both.
5: How Much Money Do You Have?
Apart from the division of assets, divorce costs money. You can save a lot of money via an online divorce process at it’s over easy, but you’ll need to consider expenses related to splitting a household too.
6: Where Will the Kids Live?
When you have children, getting divorced is an especially difficult decision to make, and it calls for profound consideration (especially if you have children with special needs).
Have you decided whether the children will stay in the house where you currently live, or is it likely to be sold? If the latter, will your co-parent be the custodial parent, will they split time 50/50 with each of you, or will you all decide on some other split of time? Can they stay in the same school district? Will you have to take them out of private school so the tuition can go toward divorce costs? Who will have legal custody of the children — you, your co-parent or will you both share legal custody? Will the other parent agree to whatever arrangement you have in mind, and if not, how will you stand up for what you think is best without dragging the kids into their parents' battle? None of these questions has easy answers, and some simply can't be answered until the dust has settled, and you and your ex have established your working relationship as co-parents.
7: How Often Can I See My Kids?
Beyond the nuts and bolts of physical and legal custody, you also have to ask yourself whether the end of your marriage is worth the loss of time with your children. Even if you and your spouse agree to put your differences aside for the kids, and you're personally willing to change careers or quit your job to have as much time for the children as you can, you're still very likely to see the children much less than you (and they) are used to. How is it going to be when you're not there to help with homework in the evenings, or when it's your co-parent's weekend, and you come home to an empty house for the first time in 10 years?
8: Do You Need Protection? Are You Safe?
Not all divorces are bad news. Ending a marriage when your partner is violent, threatening or overly possessive can be a (literal) lifesaver for you and your kids, but if this is your situation, you have to be extra careful about leaving. Almost by definition, an abusive partner is likely to react badly to your divorce filing. If you have legitimate reason to fear your spouse might hurt you, it's a really good idea to include a request for an order of protection with your initial divorce filing. These are, effectively, restraining orders that family courts can issue for 30– 60-day, or sometimes 90-day, periods that restrict the other person's legal right to contact you or be in proximity to you. A hearing — where your ex can present evidence that they are not dangerous — will eventually extend or revoke the order, but during the rough early days of a split, this can keep you and the children safe.
9: What Happens If You and Your Spouse Own A Business Together?
Many couples' ties bind deeper than mere material possessions. Plenty of married people have business interests together that form the basis of their livelihood. If you and your spouse have substantial investments together, and you count on the dividends to make ends meet, or if you've started a business that one or both of you operate, do you have a plan to preserve your income during the divorce? Will the two of you carry on your professional relationship as if nothing is wrong on the home front, or do you think you can split the business and go your separate ways without causing the company to fail?
Even if you're not self-employed, you might work at the same company as your spouse , or belong to the same social clubs or charity organizations. Quitting, closing or remaining business partners together are all options for you, and it's worth at least one conversation before the divorce is finalized to settle this thorny issue.
10: What Access Do You Have to Outside Help?
A lone divorcee can be very alone indeed, and there's no shame in asking for help when you need it. Legal aid, psycho-therapy and even occasional babysitting services all come in handy during a divorce, and you'd be smart to look at your options before getting the ball rolling. it’s over easy can help you do that.