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Photo of attorney William Marcus Wilkerson

Helping a spouse come to terms with a divorce

On Behalf of | Sep 20, 2021 | Family Law |

When one is beginning to think about divorce, one has likely been unhappy in their marriage for years, perhaps, decades. But, that does not mean that the other spouse feels the same. In many marriages, what works well for one spouse does not work well for the other. Indeed, in these common situations, one spouse may be blissfully happy in a relationship where the other spouse feels like every day is torture. This is why when one spouse asks for a divorce, it often blindsides the other spouse. This can cause divisiveness and obstinance, and sometimes, the other spouse may try to make the divorce process as long and as hard as possible. This, of course, can cause unneeded heartache and make a divorce extremely costly, which is why it is so important to help a spouse come to terms with a divorce.

How to start the process?

Of course, starting the legal process of a divorce starts with a call to an attorney, but prior to this conversation should be a conversation between the spouses themselves. Let the other spouse know the relationship is not working. No one should suffer unhappiness in silence, and this conversation should lead to marital counseling. And, even if one has already checked out of the marriage emotionally, marital counseling should still be a step before the legal divorce process. This attempt at reconciliation can help the other spouse more easily accept a divorce, and it shows judges that the spouses did try to make it work in earnest.

If one has made up their mind, be clear

After all, the options have been exhausted, and one has made up their mind to divorce, be clear about that decision. Make sure the other spouse has seen those efforts and knows that it is not an impulsive decision. Once all attempts at reconciliation have failed, be clear that the divorce will happen. And, sit down with one’s spouse to talk about that decision. Do not be cruel. Do not blame. Be prepared and clear that the decision is final, but still be compassionate, calm and respectful.

Do not let guilt control the narrative

Remember, every day, people survive divorce. This includes those that never wanted to divorce. It is not a fatal wound, and helping the other spouse accept it is not the divorce-seeking spouse’s responsibility. Do not let the guilt of the other person’s un-wanting control the narrative though. Be clear headed and listen to the attorney. Though, remember, that in the eyes of mutual friends, since one is the divorce perpetrator, the other spouse may be seen as the victim. That is okay. After the divorce, one can concentrate on salvaging those friendships. For those in the Golden Triangle area (Beaumont, Port Arthur, Orange and Houston, Texas), divorce can be scary. But, as long as both spouses take the process seriously, it does not have to be a bitter fight.