Ending your marriage is never an easy decision to make. You came into this with a commitment to live together for the rest of your life. Now that your marriage is failing, what do you do? In some cases, the right move may be to have a legal separation rather than outright divorce. To decide which one is best for you and your spouse, here are some of the most important questions you need to ask before you choose either option.
- Do you and your partner want to quit?
If your partner wants a divorce and you feel you need time to work things out, then separation may be your best option. Some divorce specialists believe that it will give you time to adjust to living without your spouse. This may make the court proceedings go on smoothly and allows the two of you work things out amicably when you are ready to call it quits.
- Are you sure you want to quit your marriage?
When you are not absolutely sure, give separation thought. Separation gives you an opportunity to identify the main reason why you think that splitting is the best option. Sometimes you may think: “well I’m still young and I don’t want to spend the rest of my life living with someone who is incompatible with me.” But after you separate for a year or two, you may realize that the main reasons why you want to separate are quite trivial.
- Why do you want to opt out of your marriage?
There are times when a legal separation could serve you better than enduring a bad relationship. When your religion or moral principles make you feel that you should not get a divorce, opt for separation. This will allow you to split your assets and debts, sort out child care responsibilities, child custody and how to receive support from your spouse. With adequate legal and professional help, you can separate various marital functions without dissolving your marriage.
- Have you had repeated marital issues?
If you discover that your marital problems are not limited to your current relationship, you may need to deal with your personal problems. The source of the problem may not be your marriage after all. Relationship experts believe that it takes two to make a marriage work. So you need to understand the part you played in the collapse of your marriage. Ask yourself: Could I have improved on my health, thought patterns, sexual availability? Did I do my best to understand my partner’s needs and help to meet them. Research has shown that whether people opt for a divorce or legal separation, they usually wish they invested more to make previous relationships work. So resolving personal issues will help you to avoid the breakdown of future relationships.
- What will it cost you to salvage your marriage?
You can discover whether or not you can heal your marital wounds by asking a few questions:
- Is there physical, emotional, verbal or substance abuse?
- Has your partner being involved with other women?
- Do you or your partner get angry easily?
- Are you just finding it difficult to rekindle your love for each other?
The truth is that issues that are caused by lack of affection and poor communication can be resolved while issues like violence and other forms of abuse are quite difficult to fix.
- Will you submit yourselves to counseling?
If you find out that your issues can be resolved, you can try marital counseling and therapy whilst you live apart for some time. You will discover what is not working and receive professional guidance on how to make your relationship work. On the other hand, working with a counselor can help you to get a divorce without any regrets. If you opt for separation and you realize that you are much happier without your partner, you can decide to quit without bitterness.
- Are you confident that you are ready for a divorce?
You can find out what divorce will be like during a separation. For some couples, separation allows them to see how much they need each other and then take steps to amend their relationship. Separation can make you decide to make things work, especially if you find out that you are not better off without your partner. So if you are not totally convinced that you must quit your marriage, separate and be open to a full resolution.
Legal separation and divorce are options to consider when you have to deal with a marriage that is failing. But don’t rush into divorce without taking time to answer the questions raised here. You may also consult a marriage therapist and a lawyer to help you weigh your options.