Most of the time separation leads to a divorce but not always. Some people need the distance separation offers, and then they get back together. Others remain separated the rest of their lives for financial or convenience reasons. If you do decide to separate and then divorce, you need to consider many factors.
Are You Ready?
Most people divorce too quickly, says TV personality and psychologist Dr. Phil McGraw. Divorce is one of the most important decisions you can make and one that comes with consequences, so you must be prepared. You are not ready for divorce unless you have done everything you can to save your marriage. If you can walk out the door without feeling any more hurt, anger or frustration, you are probably ready.
What Not to Say
You may feel like hurting your husband the way he hurt you. People say things all the time out of anger, later regret them and feel worse than before. Stacy D. Phillips, author and certified family law specialist, offers some advice on the Divorce Magazine website on what you should never say to your spouse: Don’t tell him that you never loved him and that the kids can’t stand him. Don’t tell him that you only married him for his money. Don’t say that you cheated on him or that he was awful in bed. Don’t tell your husband that he is not the father of your children. You may later feel tremendous remorse by having been hateful during this time of separation or divorce.
It is wise to use a lawyer or to at least get an initial consultation with a lawyer and then use a skilled mediator to help you with your divorce. Lawyers are expensive, so you want to save money if possible. Get a personal referral if you can to weed out the disorganized lawyers. Ask the lawyer how she calculates charges. Don’t chit-chat with your lawyer, even though that may be your natural inclination, because that can be expensive. If your divorce is amicable, you may be able to use a mediator instead. Mediators allow you and your husband to compromise when arriving at a settlement instead of going into battle, which often happens with attorneys.
The way you tell your children about your separation or divorce often determines their reaction, according to the University of Missouri Extension. Therefore, you and your husband must plan how and what you are going to tell them. Separation and divorce confuses children. Don’t give them too much information at once, but reassure them that you will be there for them to take care of them as always. Tell your children what will remain the same in their lives and that you and your husband love them. Let them know that the separation or divorce has nothing to do with them.
You need to be careful when separating because separation has legal implications that could hurt you if you divorce, according to the Family Education website. If you plan to reconcile, then you can still date and have sex with your husband. But if you file for a fault divorce, you may lose grounds in some states if you have sex with your husband during your separation, for example.
Pro Se Divorce
You can divorce without using a lawyer. A pro se divorce is one that you do for yourself. If your divorce is uncontested, if you do not have children, if you and your husband agree on the division of property and assets and if you and your husband both work, you may be able to go the pro se route, according to the Divorce Magazine website.
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