All marriages are different, but how do you know when yours is officially heading in the wrong direction? There is no one right answer to this question; however, there are some factors individuals or couples should consider if they are thinking about splitting up.
What Type of Separation is Best?
Many couples opt for a trial separation first before filing for divorce. There are many benefits to a trial separation, including:
- Giving both partners time to assess the marriage, and their desires and needs:
- Providing a cooling-off period to prevent rash decisions from being made in the heat of an argument; and,
- Giving each partner some much-needed space.
In some cases, a trial separation can also help reignite the spark that was once present in the relationship. Couples who feel there may still be hope for their relationship should consider taking a designated time away from each other before making the division permanent.
For those who do try a separation, keep the following in mind:
- Communication. This is critical to determine if a designated length should be given to the separation and how child care will be provided if children are involved.
- Ground Rules. A separation is not a divorce; therefore, a magistrate or judge may not have specific rules that each partner needs to abide by. However, suppose someone believes there will be disagreements about child care or financial support during the separation. In that case, they should talk to a family law attorney about available options.
- Focus on Individual Needs. While the separation should focus on whether or not the marriage can be saved, it should also focus on each person’s individual needs. What is the individual’s attitude towards life in general during the separation? Is the person feeling happier, not as comfortable, or indifferent? These emotional elements are essential for the individual to recognize when deciding whether to go through a divorce.
When the separation has run its course, the pair should talk about what each other learned and how best to move forward.
Child or Children
Whether a couple has one or multiple children, their feelings must also be considered during the divorce process. If a couple decides to divorce, child support and custody arrangements will need to be made. It’s easier for all parties if decisions about this can be discussed or even agreed upon before the divorce proceedings. Unfortunately, this is not a reality for most divorcing couples, so having an experienced family law team working for everyone’s best interests is critical.
Additional Signs That it’s Time for Divorce
While the above two factors are significant in determining who will be impacted by a divorce and if the marriage can be saved, there are additional signs couples can consider before taking a step toward separating:
- Lack of Respect. This can look like partners regularly criticizing or belittling each other. Another sign is when one partner consistently ignores or dismisses the other partner’s feelings or opinions. Additionally, a lack of respect can be evident when one partner regularly withdraws from or avoids physical and emotional intimacy with the other partner.
- Lack of Spiritual or Emotional Connection. If partners no longer share the same interests or values they once had, the marriage could be in trouble. This can be evident when communication has become strained or infrequent.
- Lack of Interest in the Partnership. When one partner consistently does all the household chores, manages the children, and seems to be the only one present in the relationship, it may be time for a separation. Other signs of a lack of interest in the partnership include one partner always being the one to initiate all plans and bearing all the physical and emotional labor of the relationship.
- Lack of Arguing. This may be a surprising sign to some partners. However, it’s considered healthy to fight (to a degree). Staying silent or avoiding each other is not progressive for any relationship.
Considering Your Next Steps?
There is no one right solution for every struggling marriage. If you are considering your next steps, it’s best to seek guidance outside your marriage — a counselor who may offer emotional advice or a family law attorney regarding your legal options.
The compassionate family law team at Martin Attorneys, PA is ready to help you decide whether you’re prepared for a divorce, separation, or want to explore your options. Contact us so we can start talking about the best course of action so you can find happiness again. (479) 888-2039