But taking the next step is a much bigger deal than just thinking about it. You need to be sure it’s the right decision for you.
So when is divorce the right answer?
To help you recognize the signs you are ready for divorce, we created this post based on our extensive experience as peaceful divorce experts, and combined with feedback from former mediation clients who shared with us how they knew they were ready to get divorced.
We hope it's helpful to you as you determine if you are ready for this significant life event.
13 Signs You are Ready for Divorce
In no particular order…
You did everything in your power to try to save your marriage.
You communicated to your spouse you were unhappy in the marriage on more than one occasion.
Expressed your expectations and needs.
And asked for their help in making some compromises and constructive improvements to benefit both of you.
You faithfully went to see a marriage counselor. And saw a therapist on your own.
And you’ve identified the divorce option (and divorce professional) you believe will work best for your situation.
If your spouse is on the same page about divorcing, you may have even shared that information with them (or involved them in this research.)
All that’s left to decide is when to start divorce proceedings.
You’re optimistic about the future and your life after divorce.
You no longer spend every waking moment fully consumed by your marriage problems because you’ve now shifted your focus to your own happiness.
Instead of being filled with dread, you’re optimistic about the future (even though you’re also a bit terrified).
And you’re excited to embark on a new chapter in your life – solo.
You and your spouse are already living separate lives.
While there are many things make a marriage different than any other type of relationship, a key difference is the level of emotional and physical intimacy spouses have with each other.
If one of you already moved out, the physical distance probably went hand-in-hand with sexual intimacy.
But even if you and your spouse still live together and share the same address, if you’re emotionally disengaged, it’s a telltale sign you’re already living separate lives and are ready to end the marriage officially.
You’ve met someone else and you’d like to give it a go.
You and your wife or husband have been separated or living separately for quite some time and you both know there’s no chance of reconciliation.
Neither of you were in any rush to divorce, but you recently met someone new and would like to pursue that relationship.
So now is the right time to divorce.
You’ve already lined up your divorce support system.
Traditionally you’ve relied on your partner for support through difficult times.
But things are different now.
You know life during and after divorce is going to be challenging for many reasons and in many ways. So you’ve already taken steps to create a solid support system.
You started seeing a mental health professional or divorce coach.
Joined a divorce support group.
Signed up for yoga classes.
And identified key people in your life you can trust who will be there for you.
You and your partner have already examined your finances to determine if you can both survive financially after divorce.
Divorce doesn’t create income, it only creates expense – as two households are more expensive to run than one.
Oftentimes, a married couple considering divorce hasn't given any thought to what their financial picture looks like, to find out if they can make ends meet post-divorce.
But you’ve already created a budget to identify your cash flow needs. Compared it to your tax returns and earnings statements to confirm available financial resources.
And you’ve taken a hard look at your overall finances to determine whether you (and your spouse) can survive financially and meet your financial obligations after establishing separate residences.
When you and your husband or wife spoke about post-divorce finances, you learned you wouldn’t be able to make ends meet living apart.
So you began taking active steps to address the shortfall.
Whether that means getting a part or full-time job, going back to school to attain skills to help you earn a living, or finding ways to reduce living expenses, you are doing (or did) what needs to be done to secure your financial future.
Because despite anticipating receiving alimony or child support, it’s important to you to be able to support yourself and become financially independent.
You’ve already determined you can keep your child in their current school district after the divorce.
Divorce creates significant, unavoidable life changes for everyone involved – including your kids.
It’s going to be hard enough on them to not have mom and dad around 100% of the time, or that they may no longer be living in the only home they’ve ever known.
And the last thing you want is to disrupt them further by taking them out of their current school district, too!
So you already did some legwork and identified residences in town you can both afford, that will be large enough for the kids to spend parenting time with both of you, and are safe places to live.
And determined the children can go to the same school, regardless of your child custody arrangement or whether or not you (or your spouse) keep the marital home.
You’ve decided when to start the divorce process.
While there’s never a good time for a divorce, you can make a plan to minimize the chaos that divorce can bring on.
And that’s exactly what you’ve done.
You and your spouse compared your work and travel schedules and reviewed your upcoming family commitments for the next few months.
You’ve even examined the children’s holiday and school break calendar to weigh out when the divorce would have the least disruption for the kids.
And after much consideration, made a concrete plan for exactly when you would start the divorce (and mediation) process.
The fear of the unknown is less terrifying than living with the regret that will come from spending the rest of your life miserable.
You are connected to yourself and your values, and know you will be unable to live authentically if you stay in this relationship.
You know you’re the only person responsible for your own happiness.
And realize that ending the marriage is best for your well-being and the well-being of your kids. You also want to role model what a healthy marriage is.
So for these reasons, you are at peace with your decision and are ready to divorce.
Only you can spot the signs you are ready for divorce!
But hopefully this post has given you some things to think about to help you determine when you are ready to take that significant step forward.
Preparing for divorce? The choices you make before you start the process are critical!
But you can only make smart choices if you take the time to get educated and prepare for divorce first.
Equitable Mediation co-founder Cheryl Dillon is passionate about helping couples attain a peaceful, fair and cost-effective divorce while putting their children first. When she’s not supporting her clients through the emotional aspects of this significant life transition, you can find her trying to stick to an exercise program, practicing her singing lessons, tending to her garden, watching Cubs baseball, and trying to persuade Joe to adopt 5 or 10 more dogs.