Should I Get a Divorce? 25 Big Questions to Ask Yourself.
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6 Important Things You Should Know About Divorce.
Table of Contents
Gone were the days when divorce was frowned upon by our society. Today, at least 79% of Americans as seen in chart 1 above, (according to this 2021 survey seen on Statista) find nothing morally repulsive about divorce. We see this influencing the number of divorcees in America according to the second chart/survey.
From that chart, we see that the number peaks at a shocking rate for persons aged between 65 to 74 years. Another shocking fact that appears to emerge from that chart is that there are more women getting divorced than men.
Here are 6 important things you should know about divorce before embarking on it.
Your interaction and relationship with your ex-spouse will never be the same, even for amicable divorces.
If you entertained even a faint hope that you would still be best friends with your ex-spouse afterward, it may not be the reality. Even for amicable divorces, you will still have a little tension in your interaction, especially during the early days after the divorce.
Only one of you gets to keep the kids if you have kids and they are still young.
This is perhaps one fact that is often overlooked with divorces. Only one of you can keep the child or children if they are young. The other person gets visitation rights. Usually, the determining factor for who gets to keep the child assuming you both can’t agree on it is the parent who will best serve the best interest of the children.
Unless you had a prenup or an agreement that says you each get to keep your stuff, you may need to divide up everything equally, including liabilities.
This is another overlooked fact of divorce. You will have to make an inventory of everything you both own including an inventory of items you are both owing either in mortgages, credit cards, and the like. Then these will have to be shared equally between the two of you.
The entire process, both before and after, affects the children a whole lot more than you realize especially if they are still young.
Children are usually the biggest losers of any divorce. Not only do they now have to be shuttling between two parents, sometimes, the parents even act out in front of them. Witnessing such horrific scenes scars some children for a longer time than others.
Court divorce cases are expensive and can be lengthy and time-consuming.
Yup, they really are. You end up spending so much of your money on divorce lawyers if you both are unable to amicably part ways. Not only will this deplete you financially, it will also leave you physically and mentally drained because court causes are very exhausting.
You don’t have to go through the court process to start and finalize your divorce should you decide to get one.
That is also correct. Given how expensive and time-consuming the entire legal divorce in court can be, you can short-circuit all that expense by agreeing amicably on all the sticking points and then going before a judge to make your settlement agreement an order of court. Such amicable routes not only save you time, but they also save you both money.
You may also want to check out our sister article on 15 signs your marriage will end in divorce.
2 Instances When Getting a Divorce is a No-Brainer.
While divorce should not always be an easy go-to, there are at least 2 instances where you should get out immediately if you find yourself faced with any of these:
You’re being physically abused or in harm’s way, or abused in any other way.
If physical abuse is present in your marriage, you need to get out immediately. This is because if you do not leave while you are still alive, it may just end up being the end of you. And no one should have to die because they married a jerk and coward that raises his or her hand on their spouse.
And it is not just in instances of physical abuse that one needs to get out, although the high risk of death and/or harm in cases of physical abuse makes the immediacy of exit more serious. Where other forms of abuse are also present such as emotional and psychological abuse, it is also to bow out of the marriage.
It is no time to start making excuses like he only acts out because he loses his temper over little things or she’s only acting like an immature woman or she’s just being a bad wife today; she’s not always like this. The longer you stay in an emotionally abusive marriage, the more life-long damage you expose your mental health to. And when your mental health is affected negatively over a long period of time, it will negatively affect your body physically. Such abusive marriages also tend to have a negative spill-on effect on your relationship with other people outside your home.
Check out this article on 11 Effects of living with an alcoholic spouse.
You become aware of illegal lifestyle habits bordering on criminality.
Where your spouse has suddenly taken to a life of crime, you want to distance yourself from them for two reasons. First, you expose yourself to becoming an accessory to their criminal lifestyle and thus at risk of having the law on your neck. Secondly, and even as important, is the fact that you and your children may be at risk depending on the type of crime he/she is involved in.
5 Things to Do if You are Thinking About Divorce.
Think through what is causing the feelings that are making you consider divorce. Separate the symptoms from the root causes.
The reason why it is important to separate the symptoms from the root causes is because assuming you still want to try and fix things, the root causes are where you go to, not the symptoms. The symptoms are only a reflection of a much bigger problem and if you don’t fix the problems, the symptoms will keep reoccurring.
Being this specific with narrowing down the problem will also help you come to the realization of whether the issues are such that can be worked out or such that you would much rather walk away from.
Have an honest conversation with yourself about the part you have to play in contributing to the problem.
If we all have to be honest with ourselves, both parties in the marriage always have the part they play in the problems facing the marriage. And it will only take honesty and sincerity to accept this and own up to the part you play in the problems you’re both having.
Without being honest to yourself and owning up to the part you play in the problem, you will not reach the point where you feel the need to work things out. You will still continue blaming your spouse for the problems and not working on your own contribution to the issues at hand. And should things continue in this way then divorce is certainly inevitable.
Ask yourself if you are willing to still put in the work to correct your own part of the problem.
And herein lies the make or break for the marriage. If you or your spouse are no longer willing to put in the work required to fix the problems that you bring to the table, then it sadly spells the end of the road for your marriage.
If you have considered the main problems and the attendant symptoms, and have also identified the part you have to play in contributing to the problem but you are not willing to fix your part of the problem, divorce is the only other way things will go.
Think through alternatives to exhaust before calling it quits.
But don’t be in a hurry yet to want to walk out. As we said in the first section of this article, divorce is not as rosy as one would like to think. Consider alternatives such as trying out marriage counseling or trying separation for a little bit before the actual divorce. Separation is like a practice run for a divorce and would give you better insight into whether or not you actually want a divorce.
Have a sit down with your spouse about it and discuss the 4 things earlier mentioned.
Once you’ve gone through these 4 checklists and reached your conclusions on them, have a dispassionate conversation with your spouse about them and what you think the way forward is or should be.
Our sister-related articles on 15 Important Things to consider when ending a long term relationship and When should you give up on a relationship have more insights for you to consider.
How to Prepare for Divorce? 8 Questions to Ask Before Getting a Divorce.
So, you’ve gone through the 5 questions in the earlier section and you still feel like going ahead with the divorce, here are 8 questions to ask yourself before signing on the dotted lines on the divorce papers.
What exactly is the issue or are the issues causing the problems we are having?
People jump to divorce without first identifying what the issues or problems are. There are several symptomatic issues in marriages where the couples are considering divorce. Such symptomatic issues could range from:
- one or both spouses openly disrespecting each other even in very public places;
- one or both spouses refusing to apologize when they’ve wronged the other;
- refusing or withholding intimacy by one or both of them;
- feeling emotionally neglected;
- feeling like your spouse doesn’t care about your feelings anymore;
- the feeling that your spouse is becoming increasingly selfish and couldn’t be bothered anymore about the wellbeing and progress of your home;
- in worst cases, you feel that your spouse doesn’t love you anymore.
Check out these articles on 15 Signs of a disrespectful wife and What to do when your husband doesn’t respect you.
At the core of these symptoms are two main causes of these problems – a communication problem between the spouses and a sudden unwillingness to keep putting in the effort required to make the marriage work.
Pin down the specific problems and issues so that you are sure they are not things that can be worked out instead of walking out of the marriage.
Am I part of the problem?
Maybe you are on the giving end of some of these symptoms or you may be the main perpetrator of the entire problem. Ask yourself if this is the case and why this is the case. Sincerely search out that part you have to play in the crisis and work on yourself.
Do I still want to make it work?
Your answer to this question will determine whether you get a divorce or not. If you are not willing to make it work anymore, you will ultimately walk out the door. The same also applies to your spouse. Maybe you are willing to work things out, but he/she isn’t willing to work things out. Where this happens to be the case, there is nothing you can do about it because the willingness to want to work on fixing things has to come from both of you.
Is the marriage still worth it or have we outgrown each other?
This is another reason why marriages end up in divorce. Maybe both spouses are now heading in different directions in life or maybe one has become indifferent about growth and development in their own life. And while they refuse to advance themselves, the other spouse is on an upward trajectory and seemingly leaving them behind. This mismatch of interests and/or ambitions will inevitably lead to both parties going their separate ways.
Are there alternatives to consider or is this really the end of the road for us?
When you consider the alternatives such as marriage counseling and/or temporary separation, how do you feel? Do you feel a sense of they won’t make a difference or a sense of maybe they are what we need? If you feel they won’t make a difference, then divorce becomes unavoidable.
How about the kids and how do we ensure this doesn’t affect them too much?
Once you’ve both decided that divorce is unavoidable, it is always good to then discuss the children and how to best shield them. Where there are young children of the marriage, it is always advisable that the parties try amicable separation/divorce so that they can also reach a conclusion that protects the wellbeing of the children. It will help to have a trusted mediator/third party come in at this point to bring the needed objectivity.
How do we want to break the news to friends and family?
Once you are certain you want to divorce, there comes the unsavory part about breaking the news to your close friends and family members. Ask yourself how you want to do this.
Do we have liabilities and how will these be dealt with?
Remember we said earlier that upon divorce, even the liabilities are divided equally unless you have a prenup. So, make a list of all liabilities you both have, and if you can both agree in advance on how these liabilities should be shared, even better.
Exactly What to Do Before Filing for a Divorce.
Here are exactly 4 things you should do before filing for a divorce.
Try marriage counseling first.
Most often, the problems that lead to divorce arise as a result of a breakdown in communication in the marriage. And when communication is fixed, the problems are fixed. Going through marriage counseling helps in identifying these problems and working towards fixing them before opting for divorce.
Talk to a trusted family member to get more counsel and explore your options.
Sometimes, our objectivity may be clouded because we are deeply emotionally involved to be objective. A trusted outside influence such as a trusted family member can help you with seeing things differently.
Speak to a good divorce lawyer.
Once divorce becomes inevitable, find a good divorce lawyer to speak to. This is especially the case where your spouse is unreasonable and would not see reason with you. When it is clear that there is no chance of an amicable settlement, start talking to a divorce lawyer before you even broach the subject of a divorce with your impossible spouse. Let the lawyer assist you with getting all the needed ducks in a row before talking about divorce to your spouse.
Talk to your spouse provided your spouse is such that you can have the conversation with.
If your spouse is the reasonable type, have a sit-down with them. You may even find that they are also in the same space of mind as you as regards the inevitability of a divorce. And where this happens to be the case, then you won’t have any issues with reaching an amicable out-of-court settlement.
You may be interested in this article on 17 Signs your husband is planning to leave you.
Frequently Asked Questions.
Are there some things you secretly need to do before you get divorced?
You could think of the 25 questions in this article as things you secretly need to do before opting for divorce. This is because these are things you will do within yourself first before involving even your spouse.
How do you tell if your marriage is over?
Once you or your spouse reaches the point in your marriage where you are no longer willing to put in the effort to make it work, then the marriage is over. This is because marriage requires work to keep it going and both parties need to put in that work. Once they stop putting in the work, the marriage is dead. Check out our article on When should you give up on a relationship for more pointers on how to tell if your marriage is over.
Should I stay or get divorced?
This is a question only you can answer. To help you answer it, go through the 25 questions listed in this article, and by the time you get to the 25th question, you would know without a doubt whether you want to stay and fight for the marriage or you want to get a divorce.
How do I know if I want a divorce?
If after going through the 25 questions in this article you still want a divorce, then you can be sure that you want a divorce.
When should you walk away from your marriage?
If you’re unwilling to keep working at making the marriage work, it may be time to walk away from it. Or if your spouse is unwilling to work at making it work, then you will have no choice but to walk away. If the marriage is starting to pose risk/harm to your health and wellbeing, it might be a good idea to walk away.
Husband wants a divorce, husband is leaving me, how can I save my marriage?
Check out our helpful article on How to save your marriage when your husband wants a divorce for very practical and helpful answers.
Getting a divorce is never an easy thing. Before getting that divorce, ask yourself the 25 questions discussed in this article. Answering them will help you make a better decision on whether or not to get a divorce.
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