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Deciding that a divorce is the best option for your future is rarely easy. Regardless of whether you’ve been together for six months or sixteen years, the process can quickly become complicated. You’ll need to deal with several important topics, including the division of assets and property, spousal support or alimony, and child custody and support if you have children. Of course, these topics can be discussed outside the courtroom, but that depends on the willingness of the separating couple to work together.
Whether you’ve chosen a traditional courtroom divorce via litigation, a collaborative divorce, couple’s mediation, a legal separation, or some other means of ending your marriage, it is extremely beneficial to secure the services of an attorney. An experienced attorney will know the right questions to ask, the necessary paperwork to file, and how to argue on your behalf in the courtroom if it becomes necessary.
Is It Normal to Think About Divorce?
Yes, it is completely normal to think about divorce. Throughout the many stages of life, people change significantly. In some relationships, this change may be embraced. In others, however, it can cause strain and tension.
When both spouses are willing to seek help, therapy may help the couple get back on track. In other circumstances, it may be best to continue with the divorce proceedings. It is important to evaluate why you’re considering ending your marriage and identify solid reasons you feel divorce would be the best option.
What Are the Two Main Reasons for Divorce
There are endless reasons a couple may choose to divorce, but there are a few common motivators that stand out above the rest. So, what are good reasons for divorce here in Arizona? One of the top reasons couples in the state divorce is lack of commitment to the marriage. That is followed closely by infidelity.[fn]Scott, S. B., Rhoades, G. K., Stanley, S. M., Allen, E. S., & Markman, H. J. (2013). Reasons for divorce and recollections of premarital intervention: Implications for improving relationship education. Couple & Family Psychology, 2(2), 131–145.[/fn]
For some couples, the perception of commitment may lessen gradually over time. For others, commitment may disappear altogether due to a dramatic shift in the relationship dynamic, such as infidelity.
Other commonly shared reasons for divorce include:
- Too much conflict
- Marrying too young
- Financial stress
- Substance abuse
- Domestic violence
How Long Do People Think About Divorce Before Doing It?
This answer can vary dramatically from couple to couple. An individual may consider divorce for years before going through with a divorce, while others may decide quickly. The length of time it takes to begin a divorce largely depends on the root cause of the dissatisfaction with the marriage and the willingness to work toward finding a solution other than divorce.
In a study titled the National Divorce Decision Making Project, several married individuals around the nation were asked questions concerning their thoughts on divorce. This survey found that 1 in 3 individuals thought about divorce for two years or more. 1 in 6 engaged in the decision-making process for 1-2 years, and less than 1 in 3 individuals considered divorce for 6 months or less. Researchers also determined that those who think about divorce more frequently were likely to continue considering the process for a longer period.[fn]Allen, S., & Hawkins, A. J. (2017). Theorizing the decision‐making process for divorce or reconciliation. Journal of Family Theory & Review, 9(1), 50-68.[/fn]
What Are the Signs You Should Get a Divorce?
Arriving at the decision to initiate a divorce is rarely easy. However, while all couples have different life experiences that define how they make their unique relationship work, there are a few common signs divorce may be the best solution for you. These reasons can include severe matters that may make divorce a life-saving measure, such as domestic violence or significant substance abuse. Other reasons are more subtle and may build up over time.
Communication Has Ceased
Communication is a necessary tool for all marriages. Communication can help couples heal from issues and work past the bulk of their problems. Even arguing can be a form of communication, though it’s less often successful. However, if you are at a stage where you aren’t fighting, but you also aren’t communicating at all, this could be a sign that you should consider a divorce. Lack of communication often means that one or both of you have given up trying to be understood.
You’re Feeling Indifferent
When you feel indifferent, you stop caring what another person thinks or feels. This can make it hard for a struggling couple to understand what is affecting the other and can make communication feel almost impossible. If you or your partner no longer care enough to want to make a relationship work, a divorce may be the best option.
Lack of Physical and Emotional Intimacy
Intimacy is important for every marriage. Physical intimacy can change over time, but a complete lack of intimacy can cause frustration and resentment between a married couple. It could even lead to a spouse considering or participating in infidelity. Emotional intimacy is just as important, and a lack thereof can be a chief indicator it is time for a divorce.[fn]Boden, J. S., Fischer, J. L., & Niehuis, S. (2010). Predicting marital adjustment from young adults’ initial levels and changes in emotional intimacy over time: A 25-year longitudinal study. Journal of Adult Development, 17(3), 121-134.[/fn] You need to build a deep level of understanding with your spouse to feel safe and loved.
Things Feel Out of Control
Many individuals start to seriously consider divorce when they feel that the circumstances surrounding their relationship are spiraling out of control. This can take on many forms, such as money issues, one spouse working too much or not enough, or even addiction. If problems feel that they are more than the two of you can handle, divorce may become a valid solution.
You Feel You’re Only Staying Together for the Children
It is no surprise that divorce can be hard on children.[fn]Roizblatt, S. A., Leiva, F. V., & Maida, S. A. (2018). Parents separation or divorce: Potential effects on children and recommendations to parents and pediatricians. Revista Chilena de Pediatria, 89(2), 166-172.[/fn] For this reason, many couples feel the need to fake happiness for the sake of their children, as they realize that the children are the only remaining common denominator. While it is important to consider how a divorce could impact your children, it is also important to realize that a relationship that lacks love can be just as impactful. Divorce may provide your family with a calmer, more positive environment while preserving the opportunity for your children to grow up with contact from both parents.
Why Do I Need a Lawyer?
If you’ve been considering divorce for some time, or you know it is the best option for your future, it is crucial to have an experienced lawyer on your side. A qualified divorce attorney understands the many complexities of seeking a divorce in Arizona. An attorney can ensure you’re represented fairly and provide many other benefits throughout your divorce proceedings.
Your Lawyer Provides Legal Advocacy and Protection
In the state of Arizona, there are hundreds of divorce statutes that can affect your divorce proceedings. Your lawyer has a deep knowledge of each, including those which apply to your divorce. Your lawyer can help you to feel more comfortable with the process and fight for you to receive the best outcome possible.
Your Lawyer Can Protect You from Bullying
Emotions can be high during the divorce process. In some situations, this can manifest as one spouse trying to bully the other or intimidate them into accepting divorce terms they may not agree with. Intimidation and fear tactics can force a spouse to give up more than they intended or ask for less than they deserve. With an attorney on your side, you won’t have to worry about harassment causing you to lose assets or time with your children. Your attorney can help keep the other party in check and ensure that proceedings run as smoothly as possible.
Your Attorney Can Help You Secure Your Financial Future
Going through a divorce can rock your financial foundation. There are court costs, attorney fees, and your marital assets and property will undergo division by the courts. This can completely change the financial situation for one or both spouses. A two-income household will now be a one-income household, and many stay-at-home parents stand to lose their support and face a limited job market. An attorney can help you demonstrate your need for spousal support, child support, and a fair division of property under Arizona law.
Your Attorney Will Ensure Proper Filing and Procedures
The amount of paperwork you need to fill out to initiate and complete divorce can be overwhelming. Missing deadlines or filing paperwork incorrectly can drag out the divorce process, which could also cost you more money. With an attorney on your side, you can be sure you’ve completed the necessary paperwork within the state’s strict timeline.
An Attorney Can Save You Money
Even after factoring in attorney fees, hiring an experienced attorney can help you save money on your divorce case. Careful planning and skilled negotiations can help simplify the divorce process. For example, seeking a collaborative divorce can help save you from having to undergo litigation and have a judge make the important decisions concerning your divorce.
Your Attorney Can Help You Work Towards the Best Custody Agreement
Determining fair custody and child support can be stressful in a divorce. You want to be a good co-parent, but you also want to make sure you get as much time as possible with your children. Your attorney will work hard to protect your parental rights and reach an agreement that seeks the best interests of your children.
An Attorney Can Provide Peace of Mind
Going through a divorce is extremely stressful. You can feel stress because you aren’t in control or due to uncertainty regarding what will come next. When you have a professional divorce lawyer on your side, you gain peace of mind when it comes to every step of your divorce. Your lawyer will keep you informed and reassure you regarding your divorce’s progress. Your lawyer can also act as an objective sounding board for the stresses and complications of your divorce. You can rely on the fact that someone will be there to give you the support you need when you need it the most.
You’ll Receive Complete Closure
When you work with a divorce attorney, you can rest assured that each of your most critical issues will be properly addressed. A comprehensive divorce process can ensure that you won’t encounter additional problems in the future. However, if you and your spouse must revisit the terms of your divorce in the future, a skilled attorney that knows your unique situation is your best resource.
Choosing to seek a divorce is not a decision that is made lightly. However, if you’ve reached a decision that divorce is the right path, you should find a qualified divorce attorney to ensure that your needs and desires are communicated and properly addressed. With guidance from the right law firm, you’ll experience the reduction in stress and increase in happiness you’ve been searching for throughout the decision-making process.[fn]Cavapozzi, D., Fiore, S., & Pasini, G. (2020). Divorce and well-being. Disentangling the role of stress and socio economic status. The Journal of the Economics of Aging, 16,100212[/fn]
Let Our Divorce Attorney’s Help
Together, we can help you make sure you receive the best outcome for yourself and your family. Learn more about our divorce and family law practice, or schedule your consultation today.
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published Mar 18, 2021 and has been updated April 11, 2022.
Ryan Reppucci, Founder/Director of Legal Operations of The Valley Law Group, is recognized as one of Phoenix’s leading family law attorneys. After graduating from Arizona State with the highest honors and inclusion in America’s most prestigious student honor societies, Ryan attended the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law. His career as a law student was decorated with numerous awards, including the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law Book Award, nomination for membership in Who’s Who Among Students in American Colleges and Universities, as well as Moot Court.