Maybe you and your spouse were going through a temporary rough patch. Perhaps neither of you truly meant it when you decided to go your separate ways. What if the word “divorce” was just used in the heat of the moment?
Whatever your rationale, many couples in strained relationships will reconsider the possibility of divorce when it looks like hope is on the horizon. Whether you are deciding to split up for good or give the relationship another go, we at Norman Dowler, LLP, recommend considering the following before making any life-changing decisions:
Evaluate Why You Broke Up
It is possible that your marriage has come to an end due to very serious circumstances, such as one spouse’s drug or alcohol problem, abusive behavior, infidelity, or carelessness with your shared finances. Although reconciliation is possible even after these behaviors have occurred, many couples considering divorce do so for less extreme reasons (e.g., one spouse is “bored” in the marriage, etc.).
If your issues are solvable, you might be “throwing out the baby with the bathwater.” In other words, it is unwise to throw away an entire relationship due to fixable problems. If there is still love and respect in your marriage and your current spouse is someone you want to share the rest of your life with, your relationship might warrant trying to date each other again and forge your way towards a happier partnership.
Try marriage counseling. Divorce isn’t necessarily the answer if you and your spouse have communication or trust issues that could be resolved through marital therapy. Sometimes couples need the wisdom and guidance of a third party to help them understand how their relationship can be improved.
If not marriage counseling, perhaps the perspective of a financial expert might help save your marriage. Many marriages end due to the financial habits of one or both parties. Financial counseling may help couples revise their financial behaviors and put the marriage back on the right track.
Consider a Post-Nuptial Agreement
Even if you had a prenuptial agreement, a post-nuptial may help ease your mind if you decide to try reconciling with your ex. Some people’s financial situations may change significantly for the better during their marriages, prompting them to set up a post-nuptial agreement as a safeguard for the future. However, a post-nuptial agreement can also be viewed as a safeguard for couples who want financial security in case reconciliation does not work out.
Choose Separation instead of Divorce
Maybe you are on the fence when it comes to being married or not. If so, a legal separation may be the best option for you. A legal separation means that, although you are still legally married, you have the choice to continue staying married, or proceed towards divorce. If you have second thoughts about divorcing your ex, consider postponing the finality of divorce by remaining legally separated. Some couples will use the time in which they are separated to work on the marriage, wait until their children are older to avoid a contentious custody battle, or divide property and assets before choosing to officially end the union.
Consult an Attorney
Before making a final decision, it’s crucial to sit down with a family law attorney to get a comprehensive understanding of the separation and divorce process, and what the financial implications may be for you. An attorney will be able to help you sort through potential alimony, property division, and custody issues before you commit to a legal separation or divorce.
If you are seeking legal counsel regarding separation or divorce, contact our seasoned family law attorneys at Norman Dowler LLP. Since 1958, we have helped thousands of clients with their legal matters, providing legal representation tailored to Ventura, Santa Barbara, and Los Angeles Counties.