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Divorce: 4 Important Things to Consider Before Saying, I Don’t

Divorce: 4 Important Things to Consider Before Saying, I Don’t

Today we live in a disposable world with very few things remaining that can’t be switched out for something new or different.  Abandoning a marriage and hiring a family lawyer has become much too easy.  Even if you have felt for a long time that there is no hope left in your marriage, there may be a variety of worthwhile options to consider before “pulling the plug”.  Presumably, careful consideration went into your decision to marry in the first place, make sure an equal amount of thought and deliberation go into the decision to end it.

Mediation to Save A Marriage

Typically mediation is used to bring parties to a resolution when a relationship is ending, or a contract has gone horribly wrong and the parties want to avoid a protracted battle in court.  However, the basics of mediation are very useful for situations where the parties want to remain together.

First, what is mediation?  This is a process where the two “opposing sides” bring in a neutral, skilled third party that will help the two sides work out their differences and come to a mutually agreeable understanding.

Using mediation to stay married is a fantastic way to iron out some of the issues and problems that have brought the couple to the brink of divorce.  Just like other forms of mediation a skilled neutral party is engaged to identify each spouses goals, desires, gripes, and concerns and then to “drill down” and explore what situation the couple could create to resolve those differences and recommit to the relationship.

Marriages are fraught with loaded phrases and emotionally triggering language.  “She wants to control everything I do” or “He is the least romantic person in the world” are phrases that while possibly accurate, aren’t helpful to ultimately resolving the core problems in a marriage.  The mediators job is to assist the couple in moving away from these types of charged expressions  and actually “operationalize”  with a high degree of accuracy what each spouse could agree to in order to meet the other’s needs.

Postnuptial Agreements

What is a post nuptial agreement?  It’s simply a contract entered into by the two spouses after the marriage begins that governs some or all of the terms of the marriage.  Most people are familiar with its cousin, a prenuptial agreement, but the postnuptial is a tool that can be used effectively to help a couple resolve some of the problems that may have cropped up after they were first married and have brought them to the brink of divorce.

What types of life events, property, or processes can a postnuptial agreement control?  Here are a few examples:  disposition of family inheritance, a windfall from  a business or lawsuit, a change in family circumstances where one spouse may agree to be a full time “homemaker” but wants certain guarantees that he/she will not be economically prejudiced by leaving their career or full time job.

If you decide to use this type of contract make sure to consult with a local family law attorney because some jurisdictions do not recognize postnuptial agreements or may have special rules that govern them.

Trial Separations

There’s just no way to foretell the future and just like it was difficult for you to know exactly what it would  be like to be married, there’s also no way to accurately know exactly how you will feel, and what you will think, about being divorced.  It’s impossible for a human being to contemplate all the different ways their life will change after terminating a marriage.

A solution to this problem can be a trial separation.  It’s almost always the case that a great deal of learning and introspection occur once the two parties are alone living by themselves.  Their finances, interactions with children and friends, and even their religious or spiritual life (if any) may change.

In all circumstances it’s often practical to set definite boundaries for the trail separation.  What will be the duration?  How will finances and debt be handled?  It’s important to set ground rules so the couple has the freedom to evaluate the separation and not focus on problems that result because of the separation.

Counseling on Exit

Most people associate couple’s counseling with something that happens during the marriage, but it can also be an effective tool for those considering how to end one.  There are hundreds of details involved in untangling two people’s lives, particularly if there are children, businesses, or even complex friendships involved.  Instead of the acrimony that could attend contentious arguments about divorce details, exit counseling can provide a safe place to express emotions, grieve, and can also create the new foundation of a post-marriage relationship where the parties can lead healthier lives.

While you may or may not ultimately end your marriage, it’s important that you enter into this momentous decision with your eyes wide open and with as much information and consideration as possible.  These tips may help you gain some clarity and perspective no matter what your final decision is.  Good luck!