Dreading Your Divorce? Here’s a Better Way to Get Started

A woman with her head in her hands.

The decision to end a marriage is never easy, so it’s natural to be dreading your divorce before the proceedings have even begun. It’s no secret that the decision to file for divorce can be paralyzing, even for folks who normally take charge of difficult situations in their lives. A feeling of foreboding can stem from any number of places:

  • You don’t yet know where to live.
  • You’re afraid of the cost of your divorce.
  • If you and your spouse share children, what will happen to the kids?
  • Will you owe your ex spousal maintenance/support?
  • Will you be reliant on your ex for financial support for you and your child?
  • How will other areas of your life be affected by your divorce?

Sometimes, a feeling of dread can come from an unknown factor if you don’t know how to get started and there is no clear path ahead. It even happens with two people who share a mutual decision to call it quits. Understanding a few ways to get started will help you get past the angst and forge a better way ahead.

1. Know That Procrastinating Won’t Make Your Divorce Easier

Everyone procrastinates now and then, so there’s nothing abnormal about stalling the initial filings or even avoiding difficult conversations with your spouse. People move at different paces. One person might be ready to charge ahead, while the other needs a bit more time to process their emotions before acting.

Given that reality, it’s important to acknowledge that procrastination rarely makes things easier. If anything, the opposite is more likely. Kids catch on quickly when something isn’t right at home. Moreover, people caught in a cycle of anxiety and procrastination often tell little lies to explain their behavior to those around them. Work plans, social lives, even other personal relationships can begin to suffer as a result.

Recognizing these emotions to yourself and to someone you can trust can ease the paralysis and get you moving forward toward the inevitable next step.

2. Before Taking Action, Ask an Illinois Attorney About Your Legal Options

A quick Google search may give you the impression that filing for divorce can be done with the tap of a finger online, for free! The reality is that getting started isn’t simply a matter of signing a piece of paper. Once you do file, that sets in motion a series of actions and you will want to be prepared for the ensuing steps you may take to get a favorable outcome that also prioritizes the wellbeing of any children.

A few things that might come up in the initial consultation:

Do you and your spouse agree there are irreconcilable differences in your marriage?

Your attorney will start by asking questions to determine what the path ahead will most likely look like for you. In Illinois, one or both parties generally must state that there are irreconcilable differences to proceed with the legal dissolution of a marriage. No other reasons need to be given as long as both parties are in agreement on this issue.

Have you and your spouse been living separately for at least six months?

According to Illinois law, there is typically a presumption of irreconcilable differences within the marriage if the spouses have been living separately for over six months. This aspect of the law can be important in cases where the soon-to-be-exes don’t see eye to eye on whether to end the marriage. The rule exists in part to protect the party who files for divorce in the event that their spouse tries to stop the proceedings to stay married.

Do you know where the children will live following the divorce?

Your lawyer will also want to know about plans you are considering for a child or children who you share with your spouse. This can be the most important factor in a divorce, since decisions you are making now could potentially impact your parental rights, or custody of the child, later on. For instance, if you are separated and no longer live with your children, while your spouse appears to be their primary caretaker, your lawyer can help you iron out this type of issue so that a temporary solution doesn’t unnecessarily jeopardize your future circumstances.

3. Put Your Children First

There are ways to prioritize your children’s needs if you know you will divorce, and their wellbeing is the source of your hesitation. Younger children, in particular, should be shielded from any acrimony that could arise while sorting through financial documents and splitting up your marital assets. Family law attorneys have an obligation to act in the best interests of children when speaking on your behalf – another reason to talk to a lawyer about making smart legal decisions with the goal of protecting your children, as well.

4. Speak to Someone, Possibly Your Spouse

In some cases, the source of emotional paralysis is that fears get exaggerated when they haven’t been exposed to light through conversation with another human being. Even in couples that have agreed they will end their marriage, one person may drag their feet due to a state of denial, unaware that they are making things more difficult than they need to be. Every case is different, so it’s up to you who the best person to speak to will be. If you know and trust your spouse, maybe a conversation about what elements you can agree on will help get the ball rolling.

5. David A. King, P.C., Can Recommend Best Way to Get Started on Divorce Proceedings

The first step in your divorce may also be the hardest. People who are stressed by the idea of their impending divorce often experience relief after speaking to a neutral party who is bound by law to keep their private information private. Consulting with an attorney doesn’t mean you need to take any actions. A conversation simply clarifies what the process will entail as it unfolds, and knowing this alone can remove some of the burden in those early stages.

Our family law practice has helped countless individuals through the most difficult stages of their divorce. Schedule a free consultation with the Law Office of David A. King, P.C. to start getting the answers you need today.

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