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Ask yourself these questions before you consider a divorce

When you consider the thought of a divorce, you may be concerned about the impact on your children, where you will live, how you will meet your financial obligations or how you will divide your property. All of these are valid concerns and considerations.

After thoughtful reflection and consideration, if you are still frustrated with your marital relationship which may include fighting, financial stress – or many other aspects of your marriage, you may wish to move forward. While there are many reasons to seek a divorce, some couples do not take the time to consider whether a divorce is even what they really want. Of course, if your personal safety or the safety of your children is at stake, it is necessary to take appropriate protection action immediately.

When things are going poorly in a marriage, it is normal to set up barriers to communication. If you are able to effectively question the reasons why you want out, you may find that you actually want to stay married. On the other hand, if you decide to proceed with the divorce, the time spent reflecting on your marriage issues may help guide how you handle the divorce and any relationships in the future. 

A recent New York Times article posed 11 questions that you should ask before you get a divorce. All are thoughtful and helpful to evaluating your next steps.  The questions included:

  1. Have you made clear your concerns about the relationship?
  2. Do you and your spouse have shared expectations about the roles you play in the relationship?
  3. If there is a way to save the marriage, what would it be?
  4. Would you really be happier without your partner?
  5. Do you still love him or her?
  6. What is your biggest fear in ending the relationship?
  7. Are you letting the prospect of divorce ruin your self-image?
  8. How can a divorce be handled to minimize the harm on the children?
  9. Are you prepared for the financial stresses divorce may bring?
  10. Am I ready to handle the day-to-day details of living that my spouse took care of?
  11. How do I keep from making the same mistake the next time around?

If you are considering a divorce, it may help to review these questions with your spouse. If you cannot have a meaningful discussion with your spouse, perhaps a therapist or even a close friend can be a good sounding board. Regardless of what you ultimately decide is best for you and your children, your answers to these questions may impact how you move forward in your relationship or in your separate lives after divorce. 

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