Most people (regardless of racial, ethnic, religious, cultural, gender and all other imaginable differences) agree that marriage involves a solemn commitment that transcends a contractual relationship and therefore, do not enter into marriage lightly. What is not clear, however, is how much reflection and assessment go into the decision to terminate a marriage. The opinion expressed in this piece of writing is not at all intended to be an indictment or judgment for or against divorce. However, it is intended to cause anyone who is contemplating divorce to take some time to ponder the following:
- Are you in danger of being hurt physically or killed by your spouse or any of his relatives and/or friends?
- Are you so afraid or resentful of your spouse that you have started to contemplate hurting or killing him/her or anyone related to him/her?
- Are you or your spouse on the brink of hurting each other and/or your children?
- Do you and/or your spouse have a history of domestic violence?
- Do you and/or your spouse own any firearms?
- Has either or have both of you threatened to hurt or kill either or both of you and/or your children with firearms or other dangerous weapons?
- Do you and/or your spouse have a history of alcoholism and/or drug addiction?
- Do you and/or your spouse have a history of gambling and/or frivolous spending?
- Do you and/or your spouse have a history of mental illness or breakdown?
- Have you and/or your spouse sought and obtained a Final Protective Order against each other?
Please, note that the questions (above) are by no means exhaustive. Besides, you are presumed to know (whether based on the specifics of your circumstances or by your instincts) the best time to leave and file for divorce. Having said that, you might wish to consider the following:
- Did you answer, “No” to all of the questions posed (above) and still feel that your marital relationship has broken down completely and that you do not at all expect to reconcile with your spouse?
- Is each or are both of you having extra-marital relationships?
- Is each or are both of you experiencing difficulty managing your emotions (including but not limited to anger, fear, frustration, depression, and resentment)?
- Have you, your spouse and your children sought counseling and/or therapy?
- Are you concerned about losing your sense of self and/or happiness, if you were to stay married to your spouse?
- Are you concerned that staying in your marriage might adversely impact your child or children?
- Are you (alone) or you and your spouse experiencing significant financial hardship?
- Have you and/or has your spouse taken a full inventory of your marital and non-marital assets to help you determine whether each of you can restructure your family into two separate and viable family units that can support each of you (as head of a household) and your child or children?
- Does your child or do your children have any special needs, such as require extraordinary medical expenses?
- Have you and your spouse considered child care and other costs to be incurred by each of you during and after your divorce?
- Has each or have both of you factored in the potential cost of divorce, such as but not limited to attorney’s fees and/or the cost of other necessary services such as court-ordered mediation, parenting classes, property valuation, vocational experts, etc.?
- In other words, can you and/or your spouse and your children reasonably thrive financially, as two separate households (especially, if you are finding it extremely hard to survive as one household)?
You might need to consult a domestic relations or family lawyer, to help you assess whether or not the timing of your plan to file for divorce is appropriate. Besides, an experienced and skilled domestic relations or family lawyer can help you develop a feasible and strategic plan or roadmap for your divorce.