Should I Get a Divorce? When It Is Time to Consider Divorce

Chelsy Meyer  | 

Making the decision to get married can be a difficult prospect for some, but making the decision to get divorced can be even more difficult. Once two people have their lives intertwined with families, friends, children, and finances, the idea of splitting what was one into two can be heartbreaking.

Not every couple considering divorce is a lost cause. Marriages are hard work, and for some, you can work through the problems you have. For other relationships, there may not be much there left to save. If you’re asking yourself if you should get a divorce, there are some questions you should ask yourself before making the final decision to file.

Common Reasons for Considering Divorce

You’re Experiencing Abuse

Some people have relationship deal breakers when it comes to dating. Those deal breakers should be just as relevant in your marriage as they were in your dating life. One of those deal breakers has to be abuse. If you’re being abused in any way, or feel unsafe around your spouse, divorce is an option for you. Many people experiencing abuse find it nearly impossible to get a divorce if their spouse has kept them from having any say or control over finances, but there are some tips you can look into to prepare for filing for divorce that work to keep your finances safe before filing.

Marriage Counseling or Couples Therapy Didn’t Help

If you’re having problems with your spouse, you might want to consider counseling. If counseling didn’t help, that might be a sign that you’re ready for a divorce. Counseling isn’t a magic cure; both parties still have to take the tools learned in counseling and apply them to the relationship. If one or both of you can’t do that, then perhaps your problems run deeper than counseling, and it may be time to look into divorce as an option.

Sexless Marriage: Your Needs Aren’t Being Met

Having a partner that doesn’t meet your physical or emotional needs can be extremely detrimental to a marriage. It’s not as superficial as it sounds. A sexless marriage is a marriage without intimacy. Not having your needs met leaves you feeling alone and abandoned. Though these issues should be addressed in counseling before rushing to file for divorce, they still should be validated and communicated.

Infidelity is Present

Knowing how to get a divorce can be confusing, but one of the aspects in that paperwork is to request the type of divorce you need. If one or both parties have committed adultery, it can mean your divorce can be considered a fault divorce as opposed to a no-fault divorce. Depending on your state, infidelity can impact things like asset division or alimony. However, infidelity isn’t always the nail in the coffin of a marriage. This is something each spouse should work through and think about. However, it can affect many aspects of divorce in terms of financial division and the ability to settle a divorce out of court.

Common Reasons Unhappy Couples Avoid Divorce

You’re Staying Together for the Kids

It’s a common consideration for two people to stay together for their children. Children thrive in stability, divorces can be emotional for them, and the financial strain can affect their future. However, staying in an unhappy marriage for your children is not a healthy alternative. Your marriage will be the framework for their understanding of a romantic relationship. Even if you’re not having arguments, the absence of adoration and love is palpable.

Stability doesn’t mean staying married. Two seperate homes can be stable. Emotions will be high for everyone, but you can help them through the emotional time and help them to understand. Finances may be difficult, but there are ways around adjusting to financial changes.

Financial Security is a Concern

Finances can be a giant wall blocking the consideration of divorce for some people. Maybe you think it’s cheaper to stay married, your spouse is the breadwinner, or you are the breadwinner and you feel obligated to keep your family financially stable.

It’s true that divorce tends to be an expensive process, but that’s not always the case. If you and your spouse are splitting amicably, your divorce might be a simple enough process. Divorce gets messy when both parties don’t agree on custody, asset division, or alimony. If you’re concerned about your own finances as a single person without your spouse’s income or about your spouse’s financial standing without your income, you may have to do some budgeting and make some sacrifices. You’ll just have to weight your financial concerns against your unhappiness within your marriage.

You’re Worried About Appearances

It’s not uncommon to be worried about the opinions of others in the wake of a problematic marriage. What will your parents, friends, or peers think? Maybe some people expected you to fail and you don’t want to prove them right. Maybe everyone thought your marriage was perfect and you don’t want to prove them wrong. No matter the circumstance, you’ll have to push through those negative appearances and realize your happiness is more important.

Things to Consider Before Getting a Divorce

Have You Sought Marriage Counseling?

It’s been said before, but it’s worth saying again: If you’re having problems with your spouse, you might want to consider counseling. Not all marriages are broken, some are just cracked. Though everyone’s situation is different, some marriages can really benefit from learning the tools that a marriage counselor can teach you. Since divorce is such a big step, it might be worth looking into other options before considering the finality of ending your marriage.

Are You About to Make a Major Life Change

If you’re moving, in a period of high stress, buying a house, making a career change, having a baby, etc., maybe you should consider how those major life changes are affecting your marriage. High stress situations can put a lot of stress on a marriage. Taking some time, communicating, seeking counseling, and waiting for things to stabilize might be the key in seeing if your marriage is in as much trouble as it seemed during life changing periods.

Can You Afford Divorce Right Now?

In some cases, divorces are expensive. The longer the divorce, the more expensive it is, and some divorces take years. You can always separate first, but a legal separation can also be an expensive process. If you separate without involving the court, your immediate expenses will be lower but you’re running a big risk by leaving your finances and assets unprotected. Sometimes waiting for emotions to subside is the best thing for the cost of a divorce since quick and inexpensive divorces only happen when both spouses can communicate and agree on the variables.

Are You Employed or Able to Work?

If your financial stability is reliant on your spouse, you’ll want to look into your ability to make money without them if you’re considering a divorce. Getting a divorce without any money can be done if you’re willing to work for it. You may need to look into your ability to work, get assistance, live with a family member, or gain your own capital in some way. The financial side of divorce is a difficult transition for many, but it can be done.

Can You Document Your Finances/Prove Ownership of Your Property?

This can be a difficult hurdle for those experiencing abuse from their partner. Those in controlling situations may not have documents of their finances or proof of property ownership. This may also be an issue for others who aren’t in abusive situations but don’t have that documentation. This can be an important consideration before divorce because it can impact your asset division and property retention in divorce proceedings. If you do have your own finances, property, or proof that you share these things with your partner, it might be best to obtain those things before divorce is filed to protect yourself.

Divorce is an emotional rollercoaster. For some people, the decision to get divorced is an easy one to make, but that’s not the case for every couple. Some couples struggle with the idea and wonder if it’s the right decision. In truth, it’s good to question it and consider many possibilities before landing on a decision as final as a divorce. Know that your situation might not be unique and that many marriages experience the things you are experiencing. Whether or not those situations are enough for a divorce is dependant on each couple. Before filing there are some things to consider in order to ensure you’re making the right decision and protecting yourself. Either way, your decision is yours and whichever one you make should ensure your own happiness and have your livelihood in mind.


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Chelsy is a writer from Montana who now lives in Boise, Idaho. She graduated with her journalism degree from the University of Montana in 2012. She enjoys talk radio, cold coffee, and playing Frisbee with her dog, Titan. Follow Chelsy on Twitter @Chelsy5

This post was updated March 13, 2018. It was originally published March 19, 2018.