Like a roller coaster, all marriages have their ups and downs. One minute you’re flying high with excitement, the next minute you’re wishing you never got on the ride. When you first got married you likely never thought you would be contemplating all the reasons you should leave your spouse for good. Making this decision isn’t easy and you may find yourself going back and forth on the decision for months or even years. Divorce isn’t something to be decided lightly. There are many things to consider such as children, finances, and whether you’re truly ready to move on.
Here Are the Signs it May be Time to File for Divorce
You’ve Given it Genuine Consideration
Some people claim they want a divorce, but they don’t truly mean it. Many couples have threatened divorce in the heat of an argument but would be mortified if their spouse called their bluff. If you want divorce help for deciding if it’s time to end things, do this: imagine you are divorced. Really imagine it. This means that you will have to:
• Tell your children (if any) of your divorce and decide who gets them on which days
• Find a new place to live
• Tell your friends and family
• Handle your financial situation
• Potentially get a job
• Never get to spend time with this person again
Furthermore, imagine that your spouse has moved on and is in an intimate relationship with someone new. If the reality of these things does not upset you or outweigh your urge to leave, it may be time to say goodbye.
Research shows that the most common reason people get divorced is infidelity. And in recent years, online infidelity has been a strong citation in divorce paperwork. If you or your spouse is cheating on each other openly or in secret, with little or no remorse, it is definitely time to part ways.
Addiction is Involved
Addiction can create many messy problems in a marriage. This does not mean you must abandon your spouse because they have an addiction to drugs, gambling, sex, or alcohol if they are seeking help for their problems. However, if having these things in your marriage is causing you physical harm, financial ruin, or emotional turmoil, you may consider leaving.
You’ve Stopped Caring
What once charmed you about your partner now drives you crazy or leaves you feeling indifferent. You no longer desire to spend any time together, do not dress up or try to look nice for your spouse, and genuinely aren’t concerned with your spouse’s life.
There is No Partnership
Your marriage should be a partnership. You are taking on the world together, making decisions together, and always have each other’s back. If this is no longer the case in your marriage, you may have had a mutual drift in love for one another.
You’re Not Happy
No relationship is happy 100% of the time. However, the good times should outweigh the bad ones in a happy, healthy relationship. If you are no longer happy or have fallen into a serious depression because of your marriage, this is definitely an indication that something needs to change.
Your Relationship is Dangerous
One non-negotiable when it comes to your marriage is when there is verbal or physical abuse. Even if you are not being physically harmed, emotional abuse can be just as damaging to your health. One of the biggest pieces of divorce advice to consider is whether or not staying with your spouse puts you in emotional or physical danger.
Your Children Are Suffering
As a parent, it is your job to ensure that your children are growing up in a healthy, happy family atmosphere. Physical violence or mental abuse should not be tolerated. If you believe that your children are in physical or mental danger, you should seriously consider separating or divorcing your spouse.
You’ve Tried Everything Else
Divorce is not something that should be decided on a whim. It’s serious business that affects more than just you and your soon-to-be ex. The biggest piece of divorce advice for knowing when it’s time to file for divorce is when you know that you’ve exhausted all other options to try and save the relationship.
This may include, but is not limited to:
• Instituting a regular date night: Studies show that regular date night can improve the quality of a marriage. It improves communication, builds sexual chemistry, carries a playful novelty, helps couples reconnect, and offers a level of stress-reduction. All that in just one night a week!
• Addicts Seeking Help: The spouse who is addicted attends therapy or went to rehab in order to take control of their sickness and put the marriage first.
• Daily Gratitude and Attitude Changes: Doing little things like saying please and thank you or telling your spouse what you appreciate about them is important. Studies show that the highest predictor of increased relationship satisfaction is expressions of gratitude within the marriage.
• Seeking Therapy: Marriage counseling is the best way for couples to fix their relationship. A counselor will help them learn how to communicate, fight fair, problem solve, and create tools in which to deal with the issues in the relationship.
If you have tried all of these things and there is still no relief from the mutual unhappiness in your marriage, it is time to call it quits.
Proceeding with a divorce is one of the most difficult things a person can go through. Before you file for divorce, ensure that you have done everything possible to save your marriage. Seek counseling and try to reconnect. If all else fails, proceed with a divorce and take the necessary steps to protect yourself. Although divorce is common throughout Utah, the divorce process varies depending on the couple’s situation.
Short-term marriages without children or property typically result in a less complex and time-consuming divorce than long-term marriages with significant property entanglements, marital debt, and minor children. Additionally, divorcing couples who work together to negotiate the terms of the divorce (child custody, child support, property division, debt allocation, and spousal support) will experience a less expensive and less stressful divorce than couples who can’t agree or refuse to work together.
Filing the Divorce Petition
Whether both spouses agree to the divorce or not, before any couple can begin the divorce process, one spouse must file a legal petition asking the court to terminate the marriage. The filing spouse must include the following information:
• a statement which informs the court that at least one spouse meets the state’s residency requirements for divorce
• any other statutory information that your state requires.
Residency requirements vary depending on where you live. States usually require at least one spouse to live in the state anywhere from 3 months to 12 months, and in the county where the spouse files at least 10 days to 6 months before filing the petition. Divorcing spouses must meet the state’s residency requirement before the court can accept the case. Grounds for divorce vary from state-to-state. However, all states offer divorcing couples the option to file a no-fault divorce. No-fault divorce is a streamlined process that allows spouses to file a divorce petition without listing a specific reason or placing blame on either spouse. If your spouse committed marital misconduct or caused the breakup, some states allow parties to claim “fault” for the divorce, like adultery or neglect. If you’re unsure whether you should file a no-fault or fault divorce, contact an experienced family law attorney in your state for guidance.
Asking for Temporary Orders
Courts understand that the waiting period for divorce may not be possible for all couples. For example, if you are a stay-at-home parent that is raising your children and dependent on your spouse for financial support, waiting for 6-months for the judge to finalize your divorce probably seems impossible. When you file for divorce, the court allows you to ask the court for temporary court orders for child custody, child support, and spousal support. If you request a temporary order, the court will hold a hearing and request information from each spouse before deciding how to rule on the application. The judge will usually grant the temporary order quickly, and it will remain valid until the court orders otherwise or until the judge finalizes the divorce. Other temporary orders may include a request for status quo payments or temporary property restraining orders. Status quo orders typically require the breadwinner to continue paying marital debts throughout the divorce process. Temporary property restraining orders protect the marital estate from either spouse selling, giving away, or otherwise disposing of marital property during the divorce process. Restraining orders are usually mutual, meaning both spouses must follow it or risk being penalized by the court. If you need a temporary order but didn’t file your request at the time you filed for divorce, you’ll need to apply for temporary orders as quickly as possible. When you file for divorce, the court allows you to ask the court for temporary court orders for child custody, child support, and spousal support.
Serve Your Spouse and Wait for a Response
After you file the petition for divorce and request for temporary orders, you need to provide a copy of the paperwork to your spouse and file proof of service with the court. Proof of service is a document that tells the court that you met the statutory requirements for giving a copy of the petition to your spouse. If you don’t properly serve your spouse, or if you neglect to file a proof of service with the court, the judge will be unable to proceed with your divorce case. Service of process can be easy, especially if your spouse agrees with the divorce and is willing to sign an acknowledgment of service. However, some spouses, especially ones that want to stay married or make the process complicated, can be evasive or try anything to frustrate the process. The easiest way to ensure proper service is for the filing spouse to hire a professional who is licensed and experienced in delivering legal documents to difficult parties. The cost is usually minimal and can help prevent a delay in your case. If your spouse retained an attorney, you could arrange to have the paperwork delivered to the attorney’s office. The party who receives the paperwork (usually titled “defendant” or “respondent”) must file an answer or reply to the divorce petition within a prescribed amount of time. Failure to respond could result in a “default” judgment against the non-responding spouse, which can be complicated and expensive to reverse. The responding party has the option to dispute the grounds for divorce (if a fault divorce), the allegations in the petition, or assert any disagreements as to property, support, custody, or any other divorce-related issues.
Negotiate a Settlement
In cases where the parties have differing opinions on important topics, like child custody, support, or property division, both spouses will need to work together to reach an agreement. Sometimes the court will schedule a settlement conference, which is where the parties and their attorneys will meet to discuss the status of the case. The court may schedule mediation, which is where a neutral third-party will help facilitate discussion between the spouses in hopes to resolve lingering issues. Some states require participation in mediation, while others do not. However, mediation often saves significant time and money during the divorce process, so it’s often a good route for many divorcing couples.
Sometimes negotiations fail despite each spouse’s best efforts. If there are still issues that remain unresolved after mediation and other talks, the parties will need to ask the court for help, which means going to trial. A divorce trial is costly and time-consuming, plus it takes all the power away from the spouses and puts it in the hands of the judge. Negotiations and mediation sessions allow the couple to maintain control and have more predictable results than a divorce trial, so it’s best to avoid a trial if possible.
Finalizing the Judgment
Whether you and your spouse negotiated throughout the divorce process, or a judge decided the significant issues for you, the final step of divorce comes when the judge signs the judgment of divorce. The judgment of divorce (or “order of dissolution”) ends the marriage and spells out the specifics about how the couple will allocate custodial responsibility and parenting time, child and spousal support, and how the couple will divide assets and debts. If the parties negotiated a settlement, the filing spouse’s attorney typically drafts the judgment. However, if the couple went through a divorce trial, the judge will issue the final order. If you are going through a divorce, talk to a divorce attorney to figure out your options.
Free Initial Consultation with a Divorce Law Firm
It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when. Legal problems come to everyone. Whether it’s your son who gets in a car wreck, your uncle who loses his job and needs to file for bankruptcy, your sister’s brother who’s getting divorced, or a grandparent that passes away without a will -all of us have legal issues and questions that arise. So when you have a law question, call Ascent Law for your free consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you!
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States
Telephone: (801) 676-5506