The moment your spouse tells you they want a divorce can be profoundly shocking and disorienting. Even if you suspected your marriage was struggling, you may not have been prepared to hear your partner wants out.
What happens next depends on what you and your spouse really want. You may still be hopeful you and your spouse can work things out, or you may feel this is the best route for you both. Whatever you are feeling, it’s important to think through your options carefully and try not to make decisions from a place of panic.
Here are a few things you can do to help navigate this challenging and likely devastating moment in your life:
Process Your Feelings
In the wake of finding out your spouse wants a divorce, you might feel like your entire life has been turned upside-down. This kind of instability and heart break can take a toll emotionally. It can feel difficult to even begin sorting through your feelings about your spouse, your marriage, perhaps even yourself.
Different people process their feelings differently. Some people need to talk them through, others might benefit from starting a journal to write down their thoughts and feelings, and still others might find it soothing to draw or paint to clear some mental space. It’s important to give yourself the time and space to sort through your feelings rather than simply cast them to the side. Doing so will help you figure out how you really feel, which will in turn help provide clarity for how you want to move forward.
You might consider seeking out individual. Working with a therapist on your own can help you work through your feelings, especially if you’re feeling like you don’t know where to start or like there’s just more going on than you can handle. It’s okay to need support, especially during such a difficult time.
If your spouse is willing, you might also consider going to couples’ counseling. While couples’ counseling may not lead to reconciliation, it can be a place where the two of you work out the best way to move forward with mutual care and respect.
Insulate Your Children
It can be hard when you’re still living with your spouse and trying to figure out how to move forward to truly insulate your children from the conflict between you. Nevertheless, it’s important to try to keep your children away from any arguments, to speak about your spouse respectfully to your children (even if your spouse isn’t returning the favor!), and to continue to show them how much you love and care for them.
Once you and your spouse make some decisions that will directly impact their day-to-day life – if, for instance, you decide on a trial separation and one of you is planning to move out of your shared home – that is a good moment to both sit down together with your children and calmly and lovingly speak to them about these changes.
Act with Intention
It’s completely natural to feel some combination of sadness, anger, and perhaps even a sense of betrayal when your spouse says they want a divorce. Acting out of anger, however, may lead you to doing things you’ll later regret.
As you and your spouse figure out how to move forward, there will be many important decisions you’ll have to make about you and your family’s future. Making decisions calmly and thoughtfully will help ensure they are ones you are comfortable living with as you and your family try to move forward.
Speak to a Lawyer
If your spouse has brought up the prospect of divorce, you are likely feeling overwhelmed and unsure of how to proceed. It is crucial you understand how California’s laws may impact your life if you and your spouse do decide to get divorced. This knowledge can help alleviate much uncertainty and stress as you figure out what to do next.
At Burch Shepard Family Law Group, our experienced divorce lawyers can help you understand what you can expect in terms of:
As a firm solely dedicated to practicing family law, we understand how difficult this time can be, and we are committed to protecting our clients’ interests and helping our clients understand their options throughout the divorce process.
If you think you may be heading for divorce, contact us online or call us at (949) 565-4158 to schedule a consultation.