The doubt about your marriage has probably been festering and growing for quite a while if you’re asking thinking about divorce. There are all sorts of reasons why a marriage stops working. But, do you really need a divorce?
It could be financial problems so severe that even the strongest initial bonds can be broken.
Infidelity and the destruction of the basic trust two people must have to sustain a marriage can overpower even the most durable bond.
Or maybe even thoughts that perhaps you settled for grass that was not the greenest – and that the other side-of-the-fence might offer a better life for you if there’s still time?
But, Do You Really Need a Divorce?
Should You Give Marriage Counseling a Chance?
Before you leap, maybe you should give your marriage a long, hard look – with a professional.
Why not take the opportunity to discuss exactly what is disrupting your marriage more openly than you ever have before, with your spouse, under the watchful eye of a trained marriage counselor?
This is not a penance; it is an opportunity to dig down into the darkest depths of your marital life and expose the forces vying to rip your marriage apart.
A skillful counselor will slowly but surely guide you and your spouse through the marriage minefield of anxiety, distrust, and duplicity that plague so many good marriages as they fall into decline. Where there’s will; there’s hope, or as the great media philosopher Marshall McLuhan once put it: “There is absolutely no inevitability as long as there is a willingness to contemplate.”
What If Counseling Doesn’t Work?
There may come the day, in spite of all the best intentions, by all parties concerned, when you realize that counseling is not going to work. Then it’s time to ‘lawyer-up’, as they say. And you should do it as soon as you come to that realization.
You’re going to need experience and expertise, especially in states without ‘No Fault’ divorce laws, like, say, Arkansas. In these jurisdictions, a justifiable reason, or ‘fault’ must be established in a public court of law before the dissolution of marriage is granted.
If there are children involved, this is going to get really complicated, because the reason for the dissolution can also be construed as grounds to limited access to the children, for one spouse, after the divorce action is finalized. For more information visit here for a step-by-step guide to the intricacies of “grounds for divorce” litigation in no-fault states.
Once you hire a lawyer, she or he will become your very closest confidant. Do not keep any secrets from your attorney; tell her or him everything, no matter how bad or embarrassing you might feel this candor to be.
Remember, there’s probably no situation or issue more outrageous that an experienced divorce counsel hasn’t heard before. Come clean about your marriage – warts and all. If you don’t, your spouse’s attorney will very likely bring up that information, which you withheld, during the trial and your counsel will be caught completely off-guard.
A divorce proceeding is probably the most intense, emotional process you will ever encounter in your life. Your most private, intimate moments will be laid bare, in a public and legal proceeding. You have never been through anything like this before, but your lawyer has countless times. Take advantage of her or his experience – that’s what you’re really paying for.
What Happens After the Divorce?
So, you went out and got your divorce and now are faced with a new life with you and your children alone. What do you do now?
First, you’ve got to let go. You’ve got to quash the “what ifs” and “if onlys” that your inner voice, your conscience, is trying to reconcile. Your life is not going to move forward if you hang onto bitterness and regrets.
If your thoughts are not serving a good purpose and helping you to feel better; then they must be dealt with. Going over and over the mistakes is not going to change anything.
If you’re a single parent and the person responsible for not only your life but other’s as well, you must learn to recognize stress and mitigate it as quickly as possible – for your sake and the sake of your kids. That means learning to live in the present moment. Yesterday’s problems are gone and tomorrow’s worries can wait – at least for a few precious moments, every single day.
You can certainly acknowledge feelings and memories about your past as long as it’s done as a learning experience, in order to serve the number one task ahead of you: preparing yourself for the next, thrilling chapter in your life.