Is the clock ticking on your relationship? Maybe things have not been great for a while. Some days are better than others, but you live parallel lives. Something is not right, but perhaps you do not really want to know what that is. You think you are happy enough to make it work and don’t want to do something to disrupt the status quo. Then something big happens that you cannot ignore. When that “something” happens, you go from feeling like you can make it work and get through another day, week, month, holiday season to realizing this is not a way to live. She is cheating! He took all the money out of the bank account and won’t tell you where it went. She doesn’t like it when you see friends and constantly makes accusations that you are having an affair. He is too aggressive with the kids and scares them. Some of these things may sound familiar. You can ignore it and hope it does not happen again, or you can act on the “something.” Whether you have reached a breaking point yet, the clock is likely ticking on your relationship.
Maybe you really want out and you do just want to be fair… But you are not sure how fair your spouse will be or whether they will make up lies about you, pull out any skeletons in your closet to make you look bad, or any number of other hears. Add to that the added stress of living through COVID and periods of quarantine over the past two years and things may be very tense in your home. Your anxiety may be through the roof. Wouldn’t it be helpful to understand what is happening and how to best protect yourself? That may give you a little peace while you determine how to navigate the waters ahead.
I am a divorce attorney, but that does not mean I think everyone needs a divorce. I am also a family attorney. To me, that means that I want what is best for people’s families and help them find solutions. Sometimes that means putting an estate plan in place, doing an adoption to add to a family, changing a parenting plan to make it work better for a family, or things other than divorce. When it comes to divorce, I am always all for people doing marriage counseling and trying to make it work if at all possible if that is healthy for their family. When it no longer is, I support people taking action. In reality, a marriage is the biggest commitment you made in your life to another adult.
Marriage is also the most binding legal contract you may ever be in. You should do everything you can to make sure you are ready to end it or at least that you believe it is what you need to do for a happier and healthier life before you make the decision. Having knowledge is powerful in every way. If you are in one of these situations where things have been plodding along and that “something“ has happened, you likely have already pursued counseling – maybe more than once. If not, do it now if it is on your radar. That can be the first step to action.
Did you know that most people think about divorce and separation for an average of 2 to 3 years before they act? You might be ready to act. If so, acting does not have to mean drawing up paperwork instantly and burning everything down with a flurry of litigation, mudslinging, and telling the kids you are getting divorced in a tearful conversation around the kitchen table. Taking action can mean doing the counseling or if you have tried that, moving forward with getting information about the next steps and what your options are before you make another move.
At the end of the day, people often stay unhappy in very detrimental relationships that are physically, mentally, and even financially abusive for far longer than they should. They wish they had known the financial implications, the parenting implications, and the level of happiness they can find on the other side years earlier.
If the clock is ticking, take action to get information and make sure you are protecting yourself. Do not complain about your spouse on Facebook or Tik Tok. Do not tell everyone you know what a bad parent they are. It is important that you get your support circle together, but do not use social media for airing grievances or getting all your legal advice.
Consider talking to a therapist. Talk to an attorney and understand your best- and worst-case scenarios. People are often terrified to even talk with an attorney, but it is not threatening and is where you should go for information on what to expect in a divorce. If I need tax advice, I go to a CPA. If I need medical advice or help, I go to a doctor. If I have a legal problem (and divorce is emotional but still a major legal issue), I go to an attorney. For some reason, seeing an attorney can seem scary but I am here to tell you that we are patient, empathetic, and non-judgmental. We will tell you the hard truth when you need to hear it and we want what is best for you.
Our consultations are designed to be strategy sessions. We go over what we know, ask questions to fact-find and learn more about you and your situation, give you the low down on the legal issues you may encounter, answer your questions, and help you have an idea about what your roadmap may look like moving forward.
When you think about divorce, separation, and ending your relationship, be sure to think about your mental, financial, and physical health from a holistic perspective. Reaching out for information on the legal perspective is important in maintaining all of this and is taking that first step. It is a big one, but knowledge is power, and you have the strength to seek it.