This is a common question that many people in a difficult marriage ask divorce lawyers. Sometimes, they ask before they’ve even spoken with their partner. The fact is just like no two people are alike, neither are two marriages or two divorces.
- Are you leaving a violent marriage?
- Is the desire to divorce mutual?
- Are there children involved?
There are many factors which are in play when you’re speaking of divorce or how and when to file. Speaking with an attorney is always the best way to go because of these, but hopefully this article will provide some points to consider.
If the marriage is a violent one
I have to speak to this first because many times these types of divorces have to be done in secret, quickly, and with the power of an order of protection behind them. Marriages with seams of violence running through them tend not to fizzle out and are very passionate (in a bad sense) with violence escalating with each fight or argument. Bringing up divorce can be yet another reason for the abuser to use violence against you. In cases where someone has been physically abused, it is recommended that you speak with an attorney right away who can help you plan the entire process, from leaving or changing locks, to filing orders of protection along with the divorce petition.
If both parties are still amicable and agree to divorce
In this type of case there are multiple options available, depending on the financial situation and whether or not children are involved. A couple without assets can always file an uncontested divorce together at the court house or with an attorney. A couple with assets will most likely wish to have attorneys work with them to settle the details of the divorce out of court and file when it’s appropriate. This can be in a collaborative divorce environment or with two separate attorneys.
If there are children involved
Child custody is problematic, to say the very least, without an attorney. Even couples who believe that they have an amicable separation and divorce will find this particular area difficult to go alone. While adults may fall out of love with each other, the same is not true when it comes to how they feel about their children or how the children feel about them. Everyone wants more time with the kids and sometimes fathers fear alienation during this period, even if that is not the intention of the mother. Having an attorney provides some assurance that this will not be the case, and also helps steer the discussion on custody issues appropriately during negotiations.