If divorce has been put on the table by you or your spouse, stop and consider one very important thing: Are you truly ready for all the emotional and legal issues that come with divorce planning?
This idea is explored in a recent article on Mediate.com titled “Are You Really Ready for Divorce? The 8 Questions You Need to Ask“ by Bruce Derman and Wendy Gregson, both experts in Collaborative Divorce.
Below are the eight specific questions from the article and a brief overview of each.
“Do You Still Have Feelings For Your Partner?” – Many people who still love each other will consider divorce because of power struggles or intimacy issues. The authors state, “If this is you, it is best that you work on your relationship prior to deciding to divorce otherwise your feelings of loss will overwhelm you and you may find yourself worse off after the divorce than you are now.”
“Were you ever really married?” – We’re talking about the emotional aspects, not the legal state. The authors describe it as a relationship that has no “us” to it; rather it’s just two people meeting their own needs. “If you have not developed a genuine ‘we’ in your relationship,” say Derman and Gregson, “this would be the time to either commit to learning how to do that or to admit that you have never really had a marriage.”
“Are you truly ready for divorce or are you just threatening?” – Are you using the threat of divorce to force your partner to change or to raise awareness of your marriage issues when you don’t really want to split? Those truly ready for divorce will want to move on with their lives and don’t have to blame their partner for making it happen, according to the authors.
“Is this a sincere decision based on self-awareness or is it an emotionally reactive decision?” – Derman and Gregson state, “To be ready for divorce is to have a lower emotional attachment to the person you are separating from, otherwise, the divorce process itself will be roller coaster of intense feelings, including anger, distrust and hurt.”
“What is your intent in wanting a divorce?” – If it is for any other reason than ending your marriage, you need to rethink things, say the authors. A divorce will not fix all the things that were wrong in your relationship.
“Have you resolved your internal conflict over the divorce?” – Know that you can (and will) feel guilty or betrayed while simultaneously feeling glad that the marriage is over. As the authors put it, “Recognizing the conflict and owning that different parts of you will be struggling with the impact of divorce, at different times, is part of the process of getting ready for divorce.”
“Can you handle the unpleasant consequences of divorce?” – It’s a fact, say Derman and Gregson, that your divorce will cause pain for your children, extended family and friends. It will probably change your lifestyle financially and personally. There will be times of feeling lost and afraid. If you’re not ready to accept these consequences, you probably aren’t ready for divorce.
“Are you willing to take control of your life in a responsible and mature way?” – People have many different reactions to ending a marriage. “They can come from a position of bitterness, revenge or helplessness or they can negotiate for their future from a position of strength, understanding and respect,” say the authors. “The attitude you choose will determine the type of divorce you have.”
Knowing the answers to these questions can mean the difference between a long, expensive, emotionally-damaging process and a divorce where each party gets what they need through Illinois Collaborative Divorce Law.
As a Dupage County divorce attorney, I can help you work through these questions and any others to end your marriage in a positive, respectful way. Contact me to learn more.
ABOUT ERIN BIRT
Illinois attorney Erin Birt is a skilled legal professional with over ten years of experience in trial and divorce law serving clients in many DuPage County cities including Wheaton, Glen Ellyn, Naperville, Warrenville and Winfield.
She opened the Law Firm of Erin Birt, P.C. in 2010 to offer her clients alternative divorce resolution services, specialized collaborative divorce options and family law expertise. She and her expert team continually develop creative outcomes such as divorce mediation and family law mediation that work for all parties involved, particularly children.
Ms. Birt holds a J.D. from DePaul College of Law and is a member of the Collaborative Practice Professionals of Illinois, the Collaborative Law Institute of Illinois, the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals and the DuPage County Bar Association. She is a past board member and presenter for the Mediation Council of Illinois.