Your spouse wants a divorce. Now what? That’s the million-dollar question for almost everyone facing divorce for the first time. Sure, they may have seen it coming for the last few months — and maybe, a growing part of them realizes that it’s probably for the best. But regardless of whether they saw it coming or not, the question remains: now what?
Telling yourself to take it one step at a time is easier said than done and also pretty vague. So if your spouse wants a divorce and you are not sure where to start, here are 8 things you should do first.
One of the biggest mistakes you can make is getting angry when things don’t go your way. This is especially true when you’re just getting started with the divorce process, and doubly true if you have children. There are plenty of big decisions coming your way in the not-so-distant future, and trying to manage those decisions will be next to impossible if you’re an emotional wreck. Stay calm, and keep in mind that you may not be able to talk your spouse out of his or her decision. If you are a believer, pray for God’s intervention — that He places peace in your heart, wisdom on your lips, and discernment in your head.
Seek Good Counsel
If your spouse wants a divorce, but you want to remain married, ask for advice from people who are successful at marriage. People who have already failed and divorced have little helpful information about how to save your marriage. It’s the married couples (your parents, best friends, neighbors, friends from church) who are happy and have overcome their own difficulties that you should be talking to the most. If you want to talk with divorced people about your marriage, ask them for a referral to a good divorce attorney.
Keep your children away
The last thing you want to do is have your children around when you’re arguing with your spouse, hanging around a courthouse, or sitting in your lawyer’s office having contentious arguments or detailed conversations that are meant for adults. Many times, parties in a divorce don’t think about the little ears that are listening as they try to weave their way through a difficult time.
Ask your spouse if divorce is really the answer
We said a second ago that you should be prepared for the fact that your spouse may be dead-set on getting a divorce. But that doesn’t mean the two of you cannot have an adult conversation about it. Why do they want a divorce? What role did each of you play in getting to this point? Is there any chance of reconciliation? Will counseling work? Do they want to see you admit your mistakes and make a genuine heart change? A positive step in the divorce process is knowing for sure that divorce is the answer.
Most people take the decision to file for divorce very seriously, only considering divorce after a long period of destructive choices has undermined the viability of the relationship. Even though you may not see the symptoms of the destruction, your spouse feels the destruction, and you must learn to see things from your spouse’s perspective. The most effective way to understand your role in the end of the relationship is to seek professional advice with a qualified counselor, but you need to be willing to dig through your “junk” to grow from the process. With hard work and dedication, you will learn to see your role in the relationship and how to identify and be in a “healthy” relationship in the future. Self-evaluation is critical when you have kids. You need to honor and respect your child’s other parent, even if he or she is no longer your spouse.
If your spouse wants a divorce, and you’ve never been divorced before, educate yourself. The more you know about how divorce works, the better you will feel as you work your way through the process. On top of that, the chances of getting the outcome you want to increase exponentially.
Get your ducks in a row
To piggyback off the educating yourself piece, it’s equally important to be aware of your marital situation and to start getting your ducks in a row. For example, what does your financial situation look like? How many accounts do you have together and separately? What is your monthly budget, and how much can you realistically pay a family lawyer? What evidence do you think you need in hand before meeting with a lawyer? Getting a divorce can take a few months to several years, so where will you live in the meantime? Where will your kids live? There will be many things you cannot account for, but trying to get yourself as prepared as possible early will help you later.
Make an Appointment with a Divorce Lawyer
Choosing a lawyer to meet with is the most important decision that you will make. Make this decision sooner rather than later so that you can be informed about the divorce process and how best to proceed. Only decide who to hire after you have had an opportunity to meet with the lawyer (or lawyers) and have developed a feel for how willing he/she is to tell you things you do not like to hear. If you do not develop this sense, change your questions, and consult with additional attorneys. The person you retain must be willing and able to speak truth into your life in this emotionally devastating time. If you are uncertain or have any doubt about whether you should hire a particular lawyer you consulted with, make another appointment and meet with someone else.
Call Nelson Law Group Today!!
We hope you found this blog helpful, especially if your spouse wants a divorce. Nelson Law Group, PC is invested in you and your family, and we also know the law. Give our knowledgeable staff here at Nelson Law Group, PC a call if you have any further questions regarding this or any other issue.
Give us a call today! For more information about Brett A. Nelson, click here.