Another day another argument, another sleepless night, you just can’t take it anymore. This has been going on for too long. It’s not fair to the kids that we fight all the time. He or she is being such a jerk and they’ll never change. Thoughts of divorce are swirling in your head – I just can’t take this anymore you think, I just can’t do this one more day, I am so sick of fighting, I am so sick of the silent treatment, I cannot stand to look at their ugly, angry face for one more minute, divorce is the only option.
You start googling divorce lawyers in your area, you ask friends and family that have been through this for recommendations, you make a few calls and try to find someone who offers a free consultation and you set the appointment.
The day has come and you sheepishly wander into the attorney’s office. You are feeling a bit embarrassed as the receptionist hands you a form to fill out and asks you if you want anything to drink – you say no you have brought your own. You sit down on the couch next to a table with a few random magazines lying out and a tissue box nearby.
You begin to fill out all of the essentials, name, address, phone number, name of other person, number of kids, their names, when were you married, where were you married, when did you separate. You begin to realize just how real this is but say to yourself “it has to be done.” You hand your form back to the receptionist who then walks you into a conference room and seats you at a large table that could hold at least 25 people; another tissue box sits in the center. You’re nervous as you sit and wait – thoughts going round and round in your head, “what am I doing, this is a mistake, I should leave.” Possibly your anger wells up and you’re thinking about getting back at the other person or threatening them with divorce to make them see things your way, you want them to know you’ve been here.
Just as you’re getting lost in your thoughts and maybe second guessing yourself the attorney walks in, all smiles she holds out her hand to greet you. She sits down and begins to peruse your paperwork “so you haven’t separated yet is that correct?” “Yes, we are still living together but I just wanted to explore my options.” “Great”, she says, “tell me a little bit about what’s going on.”
The next thing you know you are signing a fee agreement and deciding how to pay the $3000 retainer they will need just to get you started.
The one and probably most important thing you most likely have not done is talk to your spouse. Of course you talk, or most likely argue with each other on a daily basis but have you actually talked to your spouse? Have you had a conversation about your issues, why you’re arguing all the time and if there is any possible way to fix it? Have you discussed or better yet, gone to a marriage counselor, therapist, church group either individually or together? Have you even had a conversation in which you talked about doing something to at least try and fix this? You say to yourself, what’s the point, he won’t listen, he’s not going to change it’s a waste of money. She’ll never go, and even if she does she’ll just lie and blame everything on me, it’s a waste of time. It’s better to just be done with it.
The problem is you do not realize getting a divorce will be much more expensive not only financially but emotionally as well. A few hours of therapy vs many months or a year or more divorcing may be time better spent. It’s not to say that counseling or therapy will fix everything but at least it’s a start. There may be issues that you didn’t even know existed that actually may be very easy to resolve. There may be issues you did not know the other person was dealing with that you may be able to help them to resolve. There may be a lot of things that could be fixed through counseling but there’s no way to know if you don’t go. Maybe it won’t solve all of your issues and divorce still may be necessary but at least you are going into it knowing that you have done everything possible to try to save this marriage and you now know better where the other person is coming from when trying to negotiate a settlement.
Divorce isn’t always the answer – the time, money, emotions and brain drain it takes to go through a divorce may be saved by a few counseling or therapy sessions. After all there was a reason you married this person in the first place and if there is any possible way to get that person back, to go back to the day you said I do, to rekindle the love that made you fall for this person in the first place wouldn’t you rather have that then sitting in this lawyers office spilling your guts as they sit there and think of you as just another paying client? Your marriage may not be salvageable but you need to know that 100% before throwing it on the junk heap of love.