Telling your spouse you want to get a divorce may be the most difficult conversation you will ever have. The decisions you make during this critical time will affect you and your family for the rest of your life.
While there are many things to consider, my view after working with divorcing families for 30 years, is that these three considerations are the most important.
1. Make sure you are doing the right thing.
If you are unsure about whether divorce is your best option, make sure that you have fully explored all options. If you think counseling might work, take the time to find a counselor
with experience and expertise in marriage saving. In addition, make sure you are aware that other divorce saving options, apart from counseling, that have been found to work, including programs like Retrouvaille
, or programs offered through local churches and synagogues.
2. Make sure you understand all of your options before you move forward with the divorce.
Divorce is no longer a “one-size fits all” process
. Today there are many divorce process options and you owe it to yourself to find the option that will work best for your family. Simply going to a traditional divorce attorney and starting a traditional divorce can be like going to a surgeon before you explore whether surgery is necessary. If possible, speak with professionals with knowledge and experience in all of the primary options
, such as mediation and Collaborative Law, to make sure that you are getting accurate information about the choices available. To find professionals who can competently explain all
options, go to www.divorcechoice.com and www.collaborativelaw.org
3. Take some time to determine your most important goals.
One of the biggest mistakes people make when they are starting the divorce is to get locked into short-term thinking and ignore their real priorities. The sense of urgency in their current situation causes all of their attention to focus on putting out fires rather than achieving their most important goals. As a result, they look back on their divorce many years later wondering why things did not work out the way they had planned. To avoid that problem, take some time to really think about what will matter the most to you in your future life and make sure all of your divorce decisions focus on these important long term goals.
It is never easy to think about ending a marriage. However, if you can focus on preserving what is most important in your life, you can make your future less difficult. Divorce is about the end of an important relationship and the beginning of a new life. The decisions you make at the beginning will make a tremendous difference in the quality of that new life.
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