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When to Get a Divorce

In my 25 years of practicing divorce law, I never advised a client to file for a divorce. I always believed that it was an extremely personal decision to be made after much thought and soul searching. The last thing a client needs is an attorney promoting something that may not work for them or their children in the long run. I always encourage clients to first try marriage counseling unless domestic abuse was involved. Therefore, the purpose of posting this article is not to encourage divorce or separation, but to give you a resource in making a very difficult decision. Deciding to divorce is a decision you shouldn't take lightly. You should not make a permanent decision such as divorce based on temporary feelings.

While there's no specific answer to when you should get a divorce (since most real-world problems tend to lack a clear-cut solution), here are seven signs that it may be time to consider divorce or separation:

1) Infidelity

Finding out that your spouse has cheated on you breeds an overwhelming amount of distrust. What's worse, your spouse can accuse you of being the cause of their extramarital affair. Some people are just not cut out for marriage, and it has nothing to do with you; you can't fix someone else. If they have no intention to be faithful, it may be time to make a change.

2) Lack of Respect

A healthy marriage is based on understanding and mutual respect. If you realize that your partner doesn't want to talk through issues, or that both of you are no longer civil toward each other, and all your conversations devolve into attacking or defending, then your marriage is in a dangerous place.

3) Lack of Compromise

Compromise should not be one-sided. Both of you need to give up something for the greater good of your marriage. The willingness to work out an agreement shows balance and fairness. One party does not demand the other give something up, while not willing to give anything in return. When you are in a marriage that makes you feel used and get nothing in return, then your union is in jeopardy.

4) Lack of Communication

Communication is key to the development of any relationship. It's a sad sign when you are in a marriage wherein both of you stop arguing. Instead of working out your issues, you ignore them, and you drift further apart by the force of unresolved matters. If you do not feel free to speak your mind (which is frustrating in a marriage), then this is also a sign that your marriage is not in a good place.

5) You Stay Together Only for the Kids

Staying in an unhappy marriage and setting a bad example for your kids may be damaging to your children. Eventually, children will either shun or emulate the behaviors to which they are exposed. They are quite perceptive and can tell when their parents are unhappy; it gets worse if the children witness abuse.

6) The Marriage is Abusive

No one should put up with abuse, whether physical, emotional or sexual. Maltreatment is not only damaging to the marriage, but it also affects your children's emotions and behavior. Some even grow up believing violence is the only solution to problems. No one should stay in an abusive situation.

7) One Spouse Doesn't Try

All marriages experience seemingly insurmountable problems, and it's up to the couples to work them out. It becomes tricky when the other partner seems to have lost interest in the marriage or even trying to save it.

Filling for a divorce or separating is not easy, considering the commitment you made, but sometimes it may be the best option. However, making the decision to get a divorce or separate should not be made impulsively. The decision to or not to divorce or separate will permanently affect you and your children. You should seek the assistance of a therapist, spiritual advisor, or a wise friend before making the final decision.

If you have any questions about divorce or separation in New Jersey, call the Law Offices of Peter Van Aulen at 201-845-7400 for a consultation.

Client Reviews
Peter has integrity, and values his relationships with his clients beyond his financial relationship with them. For me to say this about any lawyer is really saying something. He is compassionate, straightforward and knowledgeable. I would easily recommend him to anybody. Lewie W.
Peter Van Aulen handled my case with great diligence and integrity. He is also a compassionate individual who realizes what a difficult time divorce can be emotionally. Peter works hard and doesn't take any shortcuts in preparing for a case… I highly recommend Mr. Van Aulen and his staff. Chuck Solomon
Peter is an exceptionally great attorney. He handled my child custody case and was able to ease any of my concerns with honest answers. He always took the time to explain the pros/cons and was always available to answer any questions that I had… I would highly recommend this attorney to anyone who is looking for one. Jessica Cruz
Peter Van Aulen is a very compassionate, honest and straightforward person. He was there for me at my lowest point with a genuine concern not only for my situation, but for me and my child's well being above all… He is fair and he is strong and when push comes to shove he is there for you. Cathy Dodge
Our cousin used Peter's law office to help with a sticky custody situation. He was extremely responsive, very nice and most importantly did an awesome job with the court! He is awesome. Lawrence Polsky

*Results may vary depending on your particular facts and legal circumstances