Ten Questions to Ask Before Filing for Divorce

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Divorce is never easy. Relationship experts debate the steps people take before separating. These experts do not always agree, but there are a few classic queries that most will acknowledge. Here are some of the questions that marriage therapists and couples’ counselors most commonly agree upon.

  1. Have I Tried Everything I Can Try to Fix the Marriage?

This question is especially pertinent if the concept of divorce is a fairly recent development in your relationship. Have you attempted counseling, either together or separate? Have you spoken with trusted advisors – be they parents, friends, religious counselors, or others?

There may be less drastic measures to try before dissolving the marriage. A trial separation could be a smart way to solidify your ideas. That distance may clarify the conflicts, and could inspire some forms of resolution.

It could be that there are very specific problems or disagreements that could be addressed head-on.

  1. How Will This Affect Our Child?

Whether you have one child or more, this question is obviously on your list. If you feel your child is in danger or somehow threatened by the presence of your partner, then you may consider filing a restraining order.

If you and your spouse both have healthy relationships with your child, then your concern may be more for determining custody schedules. Either way, you of course want to think about the emotional effect this will have on your child or children.

  1. Will I Be Happier on My Own?

You can never depend upon another person for your happiness. But you can never depend upon another person for your unhappiness either. Will ending this marriage give you a real opportunity to experience more joy?

  1. What Do I Hope to Accomplish by Leaving?

Are you looking for a clean start? Are you wanting to be in a new place? Leaving a marriage is unlikely to give you more time. What is it that you hope to change about your life by ending your marriage? Is it possible that some of those changes could happen without separating?

  1. Can I Handle the Emotional Impact?

Separation can be a bigger trauma than some people expect. Are you prepared, emotionally, to be on your own? When was the last time you flew solo?

  1. Am I Ready for the Financial Impact?

Separation is expensive. Living on one salary after being accustomed to two can be a financial shock. Do you have some savings to support yourself after your spouse moves out? Or after you move out?

  1. Can I Change My Life Responsibly?

If there are other issues weighing on your mind, they may not be easier to address solo. Substance abuse, gambling addiction, or any other kind of compulsion may be better approached with a twelve-step program or group therapy rather than trying to take it alone. The same goes for your spouse if your spouse is tackling such issues.

  1. Will I Make the Same Mistakes Again?

Patterns exist. Repeated actions can happen due to psychological issues or learned behaviors. If you see something you would like to do differently, can you change your actions this time?

  1. Who Else Will This Impact?

Are you worried about what this news will do to your aging parents, or to your spouse’s? Will this effect either of your professional situations? This is likely a secondary concern, but nonetheless worth asking.

  1. Am I Prepared to Move Forward?

Life as a divorcee will be different. Do you have the pieces in place to change into this new role?