Saturday, April 15, 2017

Should You Wait to Start the Divorce?

People often struggle with the decision whether to file for divorce.  It's hard to give up on a marriage.  Divorce impacts the kids in many ways.  There are financial concerns and sometimes safety concerns. There are many things to consider when deciding to divorce.

Once a decision is made to get a divorce, the next decision to make is when to start the process.  Again, there are many factors to consider on the timing.

Why hold off on starting a divorce?  Here are some reasons:

  • A delay gives you more time to reconsider your decision.  You can make sure it is the right decision for you.  Many people go back and forth changing their mind about whether to go forward.  A slower decision can help you be comfortable with you choice.
  • Your spouse might become more accepting.  There can be an issue if you surprise your spouse by announcing your intention to divorce. Quite often a surprised spouse goes into denial and will promise and do many things to try to talk you out of divorcing.  If you discuss your thoughts early with your spouse, it may give him or her the opportunity to process the idea of divorce and maybe come to accept it.
  • Waiting can give you time to prepare.  You may need to save some money. You may want to gather up things like jewelry, photos, personal papers, financial documents, collections or other things that may be significant to you.
  • Using the time for planning is smart.  For such a major change in your life, you need to think through what you want to do and how you will do it.  
  • It may help to let things cool off.  You may have decided to divorce because of some major arguments.  Even if there is now a good reason to divorce, the process will be a little easier if both parties have cooled off before they are faced with divorce.
  • You may want to wait for a family event before filing.  Events such as graduation, wedding, illness, funeral or holidays could be a lot easier to deal with if you haven't just started a divorce.
  • Delay might give you or your spouse time to get a job.  When both parties are meaningfully employed, it makes a divorce go a lot easier.
Can there be some problems with a delay in filing?  Of course.
  • Your spouse also has time to prepare.
  • Your spouse can work on convincing you to not file for divorce.
  • You might end up postponing the divorce to avoid facing it.
  •  Your spouse might file first and try to take advantage of you. 
You have to decide what's best for you.  There's not huge advantage in being the first to file.  If you and your spouse are talking, you may find out his/her plans in time to go ahead and file, if it is important to you. If you are talking, maybe the divorce will work out a little better. 

My suggestion:  meet with an attorney early on. Find out about the process options.  You and your attorney can decide what's best for you regarding timing.  You should be well informed and be able to tap into your attorney's experience in similar cases to help your decision. Don't over-think it and don't worry.  You can figure out your course of action by planning ahead.  Good luck!