Considering a Divorce
Chances are you’ve been thinking about it for a while. Some days you’re ready to call it quits without remorse, then, two days later, you’re wondering if it’s the right thing to do. What about the kids? What about the mortgage? What will my friends and family think? Divorce is a serious matter and not something that you should enter into lightly. The decisions you make now will impact your future emotionally, financially and oftentimes, spiritually so you don’t want to rush. But there comes a day when you have to take that first step.
Many Factors to Consider
There is a lot to think about when considering a divorce, that’s for sure. There are legal matters to sort out surrounding dividing marital property (including who should be responsible for any debts incurred during the marriage), and if you have children, custody and child support need to be dealt with as well. Getting a divorce can have long-term financial consequences too. How will you handle debts, mortgages, car payments? And can you afford to live on your own? A person’s spiritual beliefs may be called into question during this trying time as well. If you are practicing your faith, you may wonder whether you can still participate fully in religious ceremonies.
Friends and Family Have Opinions
Added into the mix are the various reactions you will get from friends and relatives if you share this bit of information with them. Some of them will be supportive and let you use them as a sounding board for the myriad of emotions you are experiencing, while others will take it an opportunity to tell you that they never liked your spouse and that you would be better off without them. The latter kinds of comments won’t help you look at your situation objectively; now is not the time for behaving rashly. In order to get an objective opinion, you need to find a neutral party who can help you work through your issues. Set aside your fears and your pride and go to counseling, either alone or with your spouse.
Consider Going for Counseling
Though counseling might help preserve a failing marriage, that’s not the only reason to visit. Counseling can also be used as a way for you and your spouse to end your marriage in a calm, rational manner. The sessions are a safe place where you can express the emotions that you are dealing with in front of an unbiased third party who is not going to remind you of what you said every time you see them for the next several years. In a situation where you are going for counseling on your own, the counselor can listen while you share your feelings about the end of the relationship and help you sort through them. You can expect to feel many different emotions, including: “¢ Hurt “¢ Anger “¢ Regret “¢ Relief Counseling can also help you to plan a strategy for dealing with your spouse through the divorce process and afterward. Being able to tell your spouse that you want a divorce is not an easy thing to share, and councilor can help you find the best way to break the news. You might also want to consider consulting with a priest, minister, or rabbi. These people all have training in counseling and may be able to help you. Divorce support groups are a good idea as well. When you join one of them, you are interacting with people who are going through the same kinds of things that you are. Sharing experiences will help you to develop effective coping strategies for your own situation.
Contact an Attorney
You can pick an attorney’s name of out of the phone book, but that doesn’t mean that all of them have the same approach to handling a divorce action on behalf of their clients. Make a point of interviewing a few lawyers before you choose one to represent you. You will be sharing some very personal information about your marriage and your finances, so you will want to be sure that you feel comfortable talking to your lawyer about these things. He will advise you about your legal rights and obligations, and then you will be able to instruct your lawyer about how you want to proceed. Issues surrounding spousal support and child support may need to be dealt with right away, since there will be bills to pay while you and your spouse are working out how to divide property (house, cars, personal property, bank accounts) and debts accumulated during the marriage. If you are going to be paying or receiving spousal support or child support, you may want to discuss the situation with an accountant. The payer can deduct these amounts for tax purposes, while they are taxable in the hands of the recipient. There are specific rules to follow when attempting to split retirement accounts that need to be followed, and you will need to consult with a financial adviser to minimize tax payable on this transfer of assets. (You may want to consider transferring funds directly into your own retirement account as opposed to taking a cash payment.)
Divorce is a complicated matter and you need to take your time when deciding whether it is the right decision for you. Getting help to sort out your feelings and with legal and financial matters is the smart thing to do. Ending a marriage is difficult enough, and you shouldn’t have to go it alone.
– by Jodee Redmond