Currently, women in heterosexual marriages are more likely to want out of the marriage than their husbands; statistics show that women initiate around 70% of divorces.
Many women who choose divorce report feeling emotionally dissatisfied post-wedding – their expectations weren’t met, they bear the brunt of the housework or child-rearing, and the idea of single life seems appealing.
However, divorce is a big decision, and many women also report feeling anxious about moving forward. While they’re feeling frustration and resentment now, they don’t want to fail their children, lose mutual friends, experience financial instability, feel judged by their family or friends, be the target of their friends’ pity, be lonely, or face difficulty finding love again.
As divorce lawyers, we have helped many women walk through the process. Here are a few things that – based on our experience – women should consider when they are thinking about divorce that might help them proceed, either way, with confidence!
Their Current State Of Fulfillment
Everyone deserves to live a life they love – we only get one life! If women are not getting the respect they deserve in marriage, or if their husbands have been unfaithful to them, or if they are constantly experiencing conflict in their homes that can’t be resolved, the status quo shouldn’t stay the same. Divorce may not be the magical answer to all of their problems that they expect. However, it may give them the freedom they need to change their life for the better.
Women should ask themselves how fulfilled they are. Where are they looking for fulfillment? What is their life “missing”? It may be that they don’t need to get divorced, and that they just need to look for fulfillment in hobbies, friendships, boundaries, and other places; their marriage could heal again with the right framework for doing so. Or it may turn out, after some contemplation, that their marriage is a detriment to their well-being, and that it’s holding them back from living the way they want to, and that divorce is something they should move towards.
We’re women’s divorce lawyers, but we aren’t necessarily telling women that divorce is the right move for them – and it probably shouldn’t be their first resort (again, nothing in this blog is a substitute for actionable legal advice taken when our lawyers actually sit down and get to know prospective clients, or other lawyers do).
Divorce is a significant emotional, financial, and relational undertaking. It’s not an understatement to say it will change the trajectory of a woman’s whole life. If women are unhappy in their marriages, there are many things that they may want to try first before they take this significant legal and permanent step to end their marriages entirely, and they should consider all of their options before doing anything!
There are self-help books, books about marriage relationships, and stress management workshops that don’t require a husband’s participation. Women may find that these are the easiest resources to access, and may find that they offer helpful tips or a change in perspective which is all that is needed to solve some issues in a marriage. However, for marital problems that are deeper than a surface level, serious marriage counseling may be in order. Sometimes, women have tried marriage counseling, but it doesn’t help make their marriage better; it just gives them more clarity that the marriage isn’t what they want.
Legal separation and divorce may be all that is left to try. Some women choose to attempt a separation so that they can have space to think about the future, or in hopes that it will be a wake-up call for their husbands and lead to reconciliation, or because their religious beliefs or other circumstances prevent them from believing divorce is a valid choice. For others, divorce is the only other thing that they think that they can do.
It’s impossible for women to consider their options thoroughly if they don’t have a clear picture of what they want – what they want their days to look like, who they want to spend their time with, what they want to achieve. Women need to take the time to consider what their life goals are as they are thinking about divorce.
Not only will this make the divorce process (if it occurs) that much smoother, but it will also drastically reduce the stress, uncertainty, and self-doubt that women so often experience when contemplating ending their marriage. If women keep their goals at the forefront of their decision-making, they are more likely to arrive at their intended destination (rather than proceeding without a desired end in mind and not being happy with where they ended up).
Many moms worry the most about the effect that their divorce will have on their kids. While there is no question that divorce has a proven negative impact on children, no matter how you slice it, children who grow up in homes with parents who are constantly fighting also risk some of the same negative consequences.
There’s no wonderful solution when it comes to how kids will process the relationship between women and their spouses, but if moms feel as though divorce is their only option, and they have explored alternatives without success, then there are steps they can take to minimize the negative effects of divorce on their kids. You can’t protect your kids from everything life will throw at them – and that’s a hard lesson for they, and their moms, to learn. What moms can do is be the best parent they can be, despite the circumstances. They can take steps to minimize the impact that divorce has on their kids if they choose that route!
They can keep things as amicable as possible with their spouses and avoid bad-mouthing them to their children, or put their kids in the middle by making them take sides. They can be consistent with discipline. They can get professional help, like counseling or coaching, to help their kids process what’s happening. They can spend time with them and monitor them closely for signs of depression or aggression. If they and their spouses choose, they can still do family activities together or spend certain holidays together in order to provide a sense of normalcy, at least for a temporary time while their kids are still adjusting.
Having kids shouldn’t necessarily be the deciding factor in whether or not moms get divorced, but being a mom definitely changes the way moms should approach divorce!
While divorce isn’t the financial obstacle it used to be for women – many women are even the primary breadwinners in their marriages, or at least have degrees and the means that enable them to be financially successful on their own – it still presents some challenges. For one, all of the assets and bank accounts and vehicles and the house and everything else that they own with their husbands will likely have to be split in a divorce. They may have to accept a lower standard of living, on just one income instead of two, and if they have children, pay a certain amount in child support (though they may also receive this amount as well).
Then there is the cost of the divorce itself. Legal fees aren’t cheap, although there isn’t a way around them – women need legal representation to make sure that their divorce is done the right way and that they are not taken advantage of.
Bottom Line? Women Have To Think Hard Before Getting Divorced – But They Deserve Their Happily Ever After.
There’s a lot to think about, for women who aren’t happy with their marriages, but at Youngblood Law, PLLC, we believe that every woman deserves to be the hero of her own story. We reject the notion that divorce has to be toxic, and we can help women do it in a way that preserves their ideals and ultimately, their peace. If you’re considering divorce, and want to speak with someone about what it could look like, reach out to our legal divorce team today.