4 Things To Do Before Filing For Divorce

4 things to do before filing for divorce

When arguments become more frequent and more heated, it’s tempting to go ahead and file. I know. However, I want to share with you four of the things I did instead of rushing for a divorce. The first major step before considering any of my recommendations is to pause- take time to think, and especially calm down. Here are 4 things to do before filing for divorce.

1. Put an end to your fantasy.
There is no perfect match out there. Every time my husband snapped at me, it sounded as though he was giving me commands. I would instantly think “wow, it would be wonderful if I had a husband who wasn’t so rude”. The reality is that any spouse can be agitated at times. I also knew that he was trying to improve, and was becoming more and more considerate. Eventually I got into the habit of reminding myself that there isn’t a marriage that doesn’t have ups and downs. If the two of you are actively trying to make your marriage better, try to imagine the new and improved version of your spouse as the best match. None of us will ever find a perfect spouse who doesn’t make mistakes- especially in the way they treat us at times. Before filing for divorce, please consider the reality- everyone has a mixture of good and bad.

2. Delay divorce: Spend one more year together
Spend the next one year treating your spouse the same way you would treat someone you’re starting over with. What I mean by this is hold off on the divorce as long as you possibly can, and start new projects/endeavors with your spouse. For us, we started by going for a date night once a week- which included going to a Toastmasters International club meeting and dinner at a restaurant. This turned out to be one of the major breakthroughs we experienced. Each week, it gave us a chance to make new friends -as a couple- and then have a nice quiet dinner together while our kids were with their grandparents. Obviously, Toastmasters may or may not be your cup of tea. Any activity or project that the two of you find suitable is sure to bring major progress, and help cool things down. The vast majority of our success occurred for us within the first six months, making the second half of that year even more productive.

3. Imagine your spouse with someone brand new
If the thought of your spouse being in a new relationship bothers you, it’s a pretty good indication that you still have a strong attachment. Imagine them starting over, not only physically/romantically, but also having a loving and caring attitude towards someone else. Right now, you’re upset and some of your spouse’s behaviors are repulsive. Others could inspire and be inspired by the same exact person you are currently married to. Picture this scenario: you’re dropping off your kids for the weekend and their new partner is there- already using pet names- and as the two of you are discussing something, they call out “hey babe! let’s take them for ice cream, and then a movie”. Just the sound of “hey babe” or any other term of endearment would be enough to make me cringe. What’s worse, is knowing that my children are being influenced by someone I don’t even know. Keep in mind, this is only the beginning. Unfortunately, more and more partners will come and go- strangers taking care of your kids, and probably being left alone with them at times. Before filing for divorce, please remember that when you see your ex with someone else, it is more than possible that you’ll wish it was you. Also, before filing for divorce, consider the hardship and confusion your children will endure. One book I highly recommend is Parental Alienation Syndrome by Richard Gardner

4. Try adding up the financial cost
One hour in a divorce attorney’s office is just as expensive, if not more than a weekend getaway for you and your spouse. That’s only the beginning. Many divorce cases end up being dragged out for several months, or even a year or two. Attorney and court fees add up to thousands. One date night per week does not even come close to the amount of child support and alimony one of you will be ordered to pay by the judge. If your decree orders that the two of you divide assets, one of you will write a large check for the equity in your home, and possibly more. Some individuals are also ordered to pay “back” child support to the other parent for spending more time with the children prior to the divorce being finalized. Then, if one or both of you are not satisfied with your parenting schedule, the custody battle will go on and on- costing tens of thousands of dollars. Before filing for divorce, please remember: either way, you’ll spend money, but staying together sounds a lot cheaper.

There are other options available to you besides these specific 4 things to do before filing for divorce. However, my number one suggestion is to delay. When you feel like going to your local courthouse, first delay, second, think. Think about the way things will be if you decide to make that major change in your life, your spouse’s life, and your kid(s) life. The reality is, that you will not want to be alone. You will have the desire to spend the rest of your life with someone. Why not make it that someone you chose to marry the first time. Something must have made them more special than anyone else.

Leave a Comment

Connect with Live Your Best Marriage!