THINKING ABOUT DIVORCE?: LEGAL TIPS FROM A FAMILY LAW ATTORNEY
Most anyone who has been married for any length of time has probably thought about a divorce. In Missouri, it is not called divorce—it is called a marriage dissolution. For most married persons, the thought of a divorce is nothing more than a fleeting thought, a thought that you only entertain for a brief period of time when you get into an argument or something like that. But, for some, it is more than a fleeting thought. It is a serious thought that takes up a lot of your time. It is a thought that becomes so serious that you really need some tips on things that you should consider and do.
I hope that these thoughts give you all, who are in such a position, some peace and comfort and some idea as to the first things that you should do.
Legal Tips If You're Considering Divorce in Missouri
It takes two people to make a marriage work but only one to break it up. In other words, if you are having marriage difficulties, it takes two people to try and make the marriage work so you can overcome the difficulties. If one person is all in, then you are only kidding yourself if you think your marriage is going to work. Yes, you still can live together forever—fight and argue and not otherwise speak to one another but you won't have a marriage that is working.
If you feel like your marriage is on the rocks, then you have two choices:
Get about the business of proactively saving your marriage, through counseling or whatever other steps you feel are appropriate; or
Get about the business of proactively dissolving the marriage. As the old saying goes: "You know what or get off the pot".
When you continue to reside together in the same residence in a stressful bad marriage situation, bad things often happen. The worst thing is that a domestic violence situation may arise because of the arguing, the fighting and the heightened tensions.
Consider Your Children's Needs
Remember, your kids are people too. Kids are smarter than you think. It isn't good to fight and argue in front of your kids. They will pick up on the problems between mom and dad and they will immediately begin to choose sides or do whatever they need to do to survive, including lying and playing the parents off against one another. And believe me, this does happen. I have seen it happen way too many times in my practice.
Decide If Marriage Counseling Is an Option
Marriage counseling works and it is a good idea if both parties are all in. If one party doesn't think counseling will work or doesn't feel like he or she bears any fault or blame for the marriage breakdown or problems, then you are only kidding yourself if you think marriage counseling is going to save your marriage.
Seek Legal Counsel
Hire a lawyer early in the process. When many people think that they may want out of the marriage, they talk to an attorney and then say something like: "Okay, I will think about it and be in touch." Then the person goes home and stays in the bad marriage. In six months to a year, the person calls the attorney back when something bad happens. In other words, the person is being reactive, instead of proactive.
My opinion: Like I said above. Get about the business of proactively saving the marriage or proactively dissolving it. That time in limbo does neither party any good and usually only makes matters worse. Hire an attorney early in the process. Listen to that attorney's advice. The attorney you hire will be the one that walks on hot coals for you and advocates for you. don't listen to your friend. They are there to tell you what you want to hear. Your attorney is there to tell you what you need to hear.
Ask Yourself the Hard Questions about Your Marriage
Finally, you may have a bad marriage and not know it. Ask yourself these questions:
Do my spouse and I have intimacy in our relationship?
If not, you should probably really examine the health of your marriage relationship. Sex in the marriage is a positive thing, especially for younger persons. That is the way God intended it to be. Intimacy is what draws you closer to one another. I have learned to ask about this in my practice when talking to people who are contemplating a divorce. I have learned that if a spouse isn't getting sex at home, they usually go elsewhere to find it. I have heard people complain:
"My spouse is always at the bars. He stays out all night. He is always with his friends."
My thought here is that if a person isn't happy at home, that person will look for happiness elsewhere. Hence the reason why the person stays out all night, goes to the bars, etc.
Do my spouse and I make time for each other?
Do you have a date night every so often? If your answer is no, then you should probably really examine the health of your marriage relationship. In many marriages, especially those with young active children, you find yourselves running ragged and crazy keeping up with all of the activities and sports that we parents think our kids just absolutely need to do and participate in. In this situation, you lose touch with your spouse. You only pass in the night. Your kids take up all of your time. It is vitally important that you plan and make time for yourselves. Plan a date night once a month without kids. Plan and make time for yourselves so that you can stay in touch with each other and each other's lives.
Marriage Dissolution Attorney in Raytown, Missouri
I hope that these tips will help you should you ever be in the position where you are contemplating a divorce. Though I wish you a long and happy marriage, know that my Raytown law office is just a phone call away should you need legal guidance through the divorce process.