When to Get a Divorce

When to Get a Divorce

Sep 21, 2023
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In life, we are often presented with certain difficult decisions. Regardless of how many scenarios we go over in our head or pro-con lists we make, we ultimately must trust ourselves to make the right choice. Whether you’ve been married for decades or even just a few years, if you and your spouse have grown apart and fixing your marital problems seems impossible, you may wonder if it’s time to consider divorce. 

One step toward understanding the choices you face is getting clear about what is troubling your relationship. If you’re considering filing for divorce, asking yourself some of the following basic questions can guide you toward the right decision. Once you’ve decided that divorce is the best and only solution, you should reach out to a Mims Ballew Hollingsworth | Fort Worth family lawyer who can help you begin building your plan for separation. 

How to Know if You’re Ready for a Divorce 

In a relationship, each person has their own unique set of wants, priorities, and needs. 

When you no longer feel that your needs are being met or have adopted new priorities and feel you would be happier no longer married to your spouse, it may be time to consider a divorce. 

Divorcing your spouse can be a complicated and emotionally draining process. 

However, staying in a bad marriage won’t make you any happier and can lead to serious trouble in other important areas of your life. Before you decide that divorce is the right solution for you and your spouse’s well-being, consider the following common signs that can help you discern whether or not staying married is the right choice. 

You Live Like Roommates and Find Reasons to Avoid Each Other 

When you get home from work and find yourself wanting to avoid your spouse altogether, this could be a sign that your marriage may be in trouble. You may even sleep in separate rooms or enjoy spending more time hanging out with your friends and family. If you’re experiencing these thoughts or feelings, you may want to consider filing for divorce.

Furthermore, while people tend to avoid confrontation, it is normal and even healthy to engage in arguments occasionally. Whenever spouses argue, it indicates that both of them care about something enough to try to resolve it in a way that is fair to both of them. Lacking the motivation to argue or resolve conflicts may suggest you lack the will to continue working on your marriage. If disagreements and differences are suppressed, you might lose respect for your spouse, grow resentful, withdraw, or even begin treating each other contemptuously.

Domestic Abuse is Taking Place 

There are many forms of abuse, such as physical violence, emotional manipulation, and sexual abuse. A spouse who beats, shoves, throws objects at, or intentionally harms the other is committing physical abuse. Emotional abuse occurs when one spouse uses words and psychological strategies to control the other spouse. This form of abuse can be just as devastating and have intense, life-long effects on the victim. 

Sexual abuse typically involves one spouse forcing the other to engage in sexual activity against their will. A victim of this type of abuse is also typically subjected to physical and emotional abuse, resulting in lifelong trauma. In a domestic violence situation, there may be periods of peace between episodes of abuse, making knowing when to divorce confusing and difficult. When either or both spouses are hurting each other, divorce needs to be a serious consideration. It is important to keep in mind that you aren’t required to wait until you can gather evidence or file a police report to separate from an abusive spouse, and you should call the National Domestic Violence Hotline if you need help. 

Communicating With Your Spouse Becomes Impossible 

Whether it’s an unwillingness to discuss your feelings or resolve any issues, when you can no longer communicate with your spouse, this can lead to the deterioration of your relationship. 

With honest work and therapy, challenges with communication can be overcome; however, failing to communicate in a healthy manner for a prolonged period may be a sign your marriage is coming to an end. While shifting to a non-communication phase may seem like an improvement if you have been fighting, it is typically a sign that you are trying to simply co-exist and have given up on the relationship. 

Someone Has Been Unfaithful or is Seeking a New Partner 

Infidelity does not always have to be physical and can take the shape of emotional intimacy or validation outside of your spouse. For instance, flirtation with others or sending inappropriate text messages may demonstrate someone’s desire to cheat. 

When a spouse is engaged in infidelity, it is a clear sign that the marriage isn’t on solid ground. It can be challenging to move on if there has been a betrayal, and once you or your spouse has become aware of the infidelity and reconciliation seems impossible, divorce may be the best way to resolve your differences and move forward from the transgression. 

You No Longer Feel Respected By Your Partner 

Marriage works best when spouses can communicate effectively and respect each other. A relationship can quickly become damaged when one partner feels disrespected and has tried everything to help their spouse understand how they’re feeling. A partner who does not feel respected by their spouse can begin to feel abandoned, isolated, resentful, and lonely. 

For you to lose respect for your partner, infidelity doesn’t have to be the culprit. Instead, you may find that your marriage has been irreparably damaged by past issues such as addiction or financial mismanagement. If you feel disrespected by your partner and are unable to forgive something that your spouse did to upset you, then perhaps the best possible option is to exit the marriage. 

Your Marriage Lacks Intimacy 

A key part of keeping a marriage together is engaging in physical intimacy. It is natural for physical intimacy to change over time. However, in most cases, couples can come to an understanding and work to remain intimate in a manner that meets both of their needs. 

When one person needs more intimacy than the other or begins dreading any physical affection with their spouse, they may be tempted to seek intimacy elsewhere. It is also possible for someone to lose interest in intimacy with their spouse if they’ve already found it with someone else. 

It is important to remember that intimacy isn’t just about sex. If either of you no longer seems interested in spending quiet time together or cuddling, it could strongly indicate that your marriage is in trouble. Similar to physical intimacy, when emotional intimacy is lacking, one of the spouses may attempt to connect with another person to fulfill their needs. If you have disengaged from your spouse emotionally, you may want to consider divorce as a final option.  

You’re Worried About What Others May Think 

When two people are joined in a marriage, their parents, siblings, and extended family often become invested in their relationship. These close ties can cause a couple in an unhealthy relationship to become worried about what their family and friends might think if they split.  

In families of certain religious faiths that greatly discourage or even forbid divorce, this pressure to maintain a marriage will likely be even greater, however unhappy it may be. 

It is important to remember that divorce isn’t a decision you should make for the sake of your neighbors, family members, or friends. Rather, it should be a well-considered choice you and your spouse have made to improve your respective lives and move forward amicably. 

You’re Worried About How Divorce May Impact Your Children 

It is incredibly common for parents to want to protect their children from the pain of divorce. Despite your best intentions, deciding to stay in an unhealthy marriage may hurt your children more than help them. In the long run, your children will heal better from going through the temporary emotional pain of divorce than from seeing their parents fight constantly.

You’re Having Disagreements About Money 

Financial considerations are some of the most common reasons for the dissolution of a marriage. The chances of divorce may increase over time if one spouse wants to save while the other feels the need to spend. 

Keeping separate accounts, failing to be upfront about money issues, and hiding significant funds from your spouse are potential signs of relationship problems. In a high-net-worth marriage where one spouse brings in a substantial salary, money deception can be prevalent, and filing for divorce may be the best solution. 

You’re Considering a Future Without Your Spouse 

Do you find yourself making a bullet list about the next phase of your life? Are you thinking about divorce enough to actually start researching and planning? In a healthy marriage, couples are willing to work together to overcome challenges. 

When you begin to develop an exit strategy and even fantasize about what life would be like outside of your marriage, you may not realize it. However, this is typically a sign that you are no longer invested in the relationship and are ready to move on. 

You No Longer Share The Same Values and Priorities

After getting married, it is essential for couples to carve out time to nurture their relationship. Getting distracted by kids, work, or hobbies isn’t uncommon; however, failing to invest any time in the relationship can be a clear sign that divorce should be considered. 

Additionally, in good relationships, couples tend to value and agree on important things like how to raise their children or how money should be spent. It may also be a good idea to consider divorce if you’ve grown apart from your spouse, no longer find joy with your partner, and discover that many of your long-term goals have become irreconcilable. 

Choosing Separation or Divorce

As soon as you realize there needs to be change but believe divorce might be too drastic, separation could be an ideal solution. Separating from your spouse could mean living apart for some time or refraining from marital relations. These actions show an initiative to resolve conflicts and can offer you breathing room and space to clear your mind. During this separation period, you’ll have the physical and mental space to decide whether to stay married and continue working on issues in your relationship or pursue divorce. In some cases, marital problems can disappear with time or even be permanently resolved with therapy.  

While communication is vital to any healthy marriage, some couples have difficulty expressing their emotions, and counseling can benefit anyone looking to sort out their feelings during their most vulnerable moments. Counseling provides a neutral space to help you and your spouse understand each other’s feelings and points of view. Additionally, if you’ve decided to divorce, therapy can help you and your spouse accept the decision to end the marriage. Although separation is an option, divorce may be the better choice when domestic abuse, alcoholism, or infidelity is involved. No matter how your divorce comes about, it is a positive step in the right direction that should positively affect both your lives.

When is it Time to Hire a Divorce Lawyer? 

Whenever a couple feels certain circumstances have taken a tremendous toll on their marriage, they may decide to file for divorce. Once it’s clear that you’re ready to end your marriage, you’ll have a lot of choices to make during this time, and acting quickly is essential. Divorce can be a stressful and emotional time. To avoid jeopardizing your rights and future, you should consider talking to an experienced divorce lawyer who can help protect your rights. 

Factors That Might Complicate Divorce 

Getting a divorce on your own is certainly possible, but the more complex things are between you and your spouse, the greater the chances of confusion and mistakes. Having a divorce attorney on your side who can advocate for your rights and handle the tricky details of your split, such as child custody, spousal support, and finances, can be incredibly beneficial. 

The following are some reasons why you may want to consider legal representation if you are seeking a divorce:

You and Your Spouse Can’t Agree on How to Divide Property and Debts

One crucial aspect of divorce is the division of marital assets, property, and debts. Understanding how this division is handled is crucial to ensure a fair and equitable outcome. Texas law adheres to the principle of community property. Community property laws indicate that all property and assets acquired during the marriage, including bank accounts, cars, and homes, are generally considered jointly owned. 

Courts want each spouse to emerge from a divorce on relatively even financial footing. Marital debts are also typically divided equitably; however, there are exceptions. For example, when one spouse incurs debts not for the family’s benefit, a judge will usually assign these debts to the “guilty” spouse. A divorce lawyer can help ensure you and your spouse reach a fair and balanced agreement. 

Discussing Parenting Agreements With Your Spouse Grows Contentious 

Having children often complicates the divorce process, and in many cases, working out a parenting plan can get hectic and tangled in no time. When divorcing parents have children and are unable to make decisions about child custody and support, this may influence their decision to hire a divorce lawyer. It is important to remember that the court’s overriding mandate is to do what’s in your children’s best interest. 

Additionally, the child custody situation will often affect child support issues, including who will pay and what the amount will be. For example, the parent who spends the most overnights with their children will typically receive payments from the other. With the help of a divorce lawyer, you can understand the factors involved in child support calculations and keep from overpaying.

There Are Disputes Over Spousal Support 

Spousal maintenance or support is a highly contentious topic, and if you believe your spousal support order is unfair or incorrect, it may be time to speak to an attorney. Many factors are considered when determining whether or not to award spousal maintenance. 

Among these factors are:

  • The length of the marriage.
  • The age and health concerns of each spouse.
  • The education and employment skills of the spouses.
  • Any history or pattern of family violence.

If you and your spouse can’t reach an agreement on spousal maintenance, an attorney can prevent you from paying more than you can afford or ensure you receive enough support to meet your financial needs. 

Need Help Navigating Your Divorce? Our Team is Here to Help!

Speaking with a divorce attorney can sometimes provide the clarification you need if you’re still considering whether or not to stay married. At Mims Ballew Hollingsworth | Fort Worth Family, our dependable and trustworthy team of divorce and family lawyers can help you examine your options and guide you through every step of the process as efficiently as possible. Learn more about how we can help by calling 817-952-6723 or contacting us online. 

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Constance Mims

Constance Mims has over fifteen years of experience practicing exclusively family law. Mrs. Mims is Board Certified in Family Law, by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. She is Collaborative Law certified and is a shrewd negotiator, not to mention her experience in the most challenging child custody, child support, spousal maintenance, alimony, prenuptial agreements, and divorce issues, both in court and in the appellate arena.

Contact Us Today!

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This page has been written, edited, and reviewed by a team of legal writers following our comprehensive editorial guidelines. This page was approved by Founding Partner, Constance Mims who has over 15 years of experience practicing exclusively family law. Mrs. Mims is Board Certified in Family Law, by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization..

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