It's over. You're not searching for signs that your husband or wife wants a divorce, they want a divorce.
Here is what you need to know:
- What to do when your spouse says they are done
- What to do when a husband wants a divorce and you don't
- How do I change my husband’s mind about divorce?
What to do when your wife or husband says they are done and want a divorce
If your husband or wife clearly says they want a divorce, you have two options:
- Try to change their mind, or
- Accept that the marriage is over, and make plans to move forward with a divorce, and the rest of your life.
These are scary times. Do not pretend they will change their mind or get over it. it is time to take action.
Many unhappy couples seek out therapy, both individually and together, to work through their troubles. Even if you have both accepted that the relationship is over, a skilled therapist can be useful in defusing the anger, and helping you move forward in an amicable way, so that negotiations around the children and money are less explosive, and you can focus on how to manage co-parenting, as well as best practices for helping your kids move through this difficult period.
“My wife wants a divorce.”
If your wife wants a divorce, keep in mind that the old model in which women keep kids the majority of time, and dads see kids on weekends and pay child support (and possibly alimony) still stands. Call an attorney or mediator now. Take this seriously.
Case study of what not to do: I recently heard from a dad who started to go through a garden-variety separation when his wife relocated with their baby from their home in Seattle to live near her family in Alabama.
The dad was desperate to reason with her and keep the marriage together, and instead of filing for divorce and custody in Washington, he followed her to Alabama to attempt to reason with her. By doing so, the jurisdiction for the case moved to Alabama where his chances of getting a fair time-sharing arrangement were far less than Seattle.
“My husband wants a divorce.”
One pitfall women fall into is failing to take control over their finances during the marriage, while statistically earning less than their husbands — or not working at all.
If your husband says he wants a divorce, or you suspect he wants a divorce, now is the time to shore up all your financial accounts and understand how marital property is divided after divorce. Locate the mortgage, any bank, checking, savings or investment accounts, understand where your husband’s pension accounts are located and what your credit score is. Now is the time to get your own credit card in your own name, your own bank accounts, and focus on increasing your income and financial independence.
What to do when a husband wants a divorce — and you don’t
If you don’t already have a therapist you like, asking friends for a local referral is helpful. Your religious leader, or even a trusted mutual friend can help, too. Online therapy platforms are affordable, convenient and make it easy to switch if you are not happy with your counselor.
Betterhelp offers live sessions starting at $65/week, including unlimited texting, with financial aid available.
How do I change my husband’s mind about divorce?
First, you probably can’t change your husband (or wife’s) mind once they decide to move on.
However, online couples therapy offers the unique ability to communicate in a three-way call, video or text or email exchange with a certified and licensed therapist — without being in the same room as your soon-to-be ex. BetterHelp’s database of thousands of therapists serve individuals, couples and teens. Better Business Bureau A+ rating. Check out BetterHelp now >>
Regardless of whether you choose to fight to keep the marriage together, agree to separate and divorce, or are scared out of your mind about the future … call a lawyer. Call a few family lawyers near you. Most attorneys will take your call for free, and answer your questions without charge. This is not only a good way to get a sense of who you may hire to help with a divorce, but also whether you need a lawyer at all. But most importantly, a lawyer will answer your questions and help you understand what your life post-divorce will look like, taking much of the fear and uncertainty out of what is one of the most stressful situations you will face in your life.
As you speak with attorneys, as well as friends who have gone through divorces of their own, consider what type of divorce is right for you. Do you really need to each have your own litigator, and drag the issue out in court? Or would a mediated divorce, in which the two of you agree to work through the divorce details with a mediator, be a better fit? Increasingly, couples also turn to collaborative divorce, in which each spouse hires an attorney, and all four parties sign a contract agreeing to settle out of court.
Or, could you agree to an uncontested divorce, in which you both work out your own agreement and file yourself? Even in the most amicable cases, it is advised to pay an attorney to look over your documents to make sure that you are both protected, and that the papers are filed according to your state’s rules (so they are not rejected and you have to re-do them).
There are several quality online divorce apps. Here is what you need to know about filing divorce online, and our recommendations for the 10 best DIY online divorce programs.
Regardless of your path, start to educate yourself now about the divorce process, how property is divided in divorce, why shared parenting is usually best for kids, and how you can best move forward for a happy, healthy, independent life after.