Asking for a divorce is often easier said than done. There is a gap between the moment you realize your marriage is over and the moment you’re ready to start the dissolution process. And while that gap may seem small on paper, in practice, many couples drag things along for years because neither part is ready to commit to the work involved in ending the whole thing.
If that’s the situation you’re in right now, don’t feel bad. You’re not alone, and there are good reasons to hesitate. Here are some tips that can help you overcome the obstacles that are keeping you from acting.
Study the topic
If you have never been divorced before, the chances are that you have a few misconceptions about the process. Hollywood doesn’t do a good job of portraying just how mundane divorce negotiations typically are. On top of that, divorce laws differ from state to state, meaning you’ll need to check local laws for a realistic sense of what you’ll be dealing with.
Reading about the divorce process can make the whole idea a lot less scary. It is also a good idea to read about other people’s experiences getting divorced and how they coped with problems that arose during the process. This can help you anticipate problems.
Narrow down the issues
Once you’ve done some studying, it’s a good idea to sit down and write your concerns. Go over what your biggest worries over getting divorced are, what you’d like to get out of the process, and what you’d like to avoid. This is a good method to turn a vague sense of dread into a concrete list of problems that you can tackle. And don’t worry, you won’t have to tackle those alone.
Talk to an attorney
Yes, you can talk to an attorney before you discuss divorce with your partner. You can even talk to an attorney before you’re sure if you want a divorce or not. You only stand to gain by sitting down with a family law attorney to go over your case.
As this link shows, an attorney can help you go over the details of your case, identify its strengths and weaknesses, and help you get a sense of what you can expect out of the divorce process, both in terms of outcome and in terms of duration and costs. And, of course, an attorney can also help you with the issues you wrote on your list, offering either legal advice or practical advice borne out of experience.
Sort out the logistics
Having talked to an attorney should give you a nice boost in confidence when it comes to asking for a divorce. And something else that can help in that department is to have a plan for what is going to happen after you ask. Are you going to move out? Is your partner? Where is the side that moves out going to stay? Do you have your own source of income, and if not, do you have cash or credit you can live off of for a couple of weeks before spousal support is sorted out?
Answering these and other practical questions are necessary steps before you initiate the divorce process. And asking for a divorce will feel much less daunting once you have those pieces in order.
Helen Baumeister did her degree in psychology at the University of Hertfordshire. She is interested in mental health, wellness, and lifestyle.