Is your marriage on the rocks? Here are a couple of warning signs you’ll want to look for. As is always advised, if you are considering divorce, you’ll want to work with a family law attorney that can guide you through the divorce process.
The following signs could indicate that your marriage needs some help.
YOU’RE NOT HAPPY.
Sure, every relationship has its ups and downs but constantly feeling unhappy is a clear sign that this isn’t good anymore.
THE MAJORITY OF YOUR INTERACTIONS ARE NOT POSITIVE.
According to marriage researcher John Gottman, happy couples have an interaction ratio of 20:1 — that’s 20 positive interactions to 1 negative interaction. Conflicted couples have a ratio of 5:1, and couples nearing divorce are .8:1.
YOU CREATE REASONS TO AVOID YOUR PARTNER.
If you are avoiding your partner or creating reasons to avoid your partner, you should consider talking with a marital therapist. Examples are sitting in the car to avoid going inside your house or wanting to hang out more with friends and family instead of at home.
YOUR FRIENDS OR FAMILY ARE ENCOURAGING YOU TO END THE RELATIONSHIP.
Friends and family that are closest to you may be able to see things clearly even when you can’t.
YOUR INSTINCTS ARE TELLING YOU IT’S OVER.
Is your stomach always in a knot? That might just be your gut instinct telling you it’s over. Talking with an expert or therapist who can help you weigh the pros and cons.
YOU AND YOUR SPOUSE LIVE LIKE ROOMMATES.
Does he sleep in one room and you sleep in another room? Are you leading separate lives? Are you okay with it? If so, you’ve crossed into roommate zone and you need to decide if you want to continue living that way.
EVERYTHING FEELS HARD.
If every interaction feels like a chore or is painful, like deciding on breakfast or when to go to the grocery story, you’ll want to consider if it’s worth it.
ONE OR BOTH HAVE CHANGED VALUES OR PRIORITIES.
In most good relationships, couples value the same ‘big’ things. But that can change over time. Often times what one person used to value doesn’t’ matter much over time. Lifestyle changes or job opportunities or even religions can cause people to change. Unless you are both able to adapt, it can be a tough thing to overcome.
SUDDEN CHANGES IN BEHAVIOR.
If one partner suddenly drops lots of weight and takes a renewed interest in their appearance or maybe starts spending a lot of time away from home, you might need to take a closer look into what could be an ‘outside reason’ for this.
ARE THESE SIGNS RINGING A BELL?
If you have more than 2-3 of the signs listed above you might want to spend some time to sit down and have an open conversation with your spouse. If that is not possible, you might want to consider speaking with a marital therapist that can advise you on how to have an open conversation with your spouse. If after reading these signs, and you decide that you want a divorce and that there is no way you can work things out with your spouse, you should consider calling a family law attorney.
THE DIVORCE PROCESS
Know that every couple’s relationship and marriage is different, and that because of that every divorce will be different. For example, you might need to work out child custody agreements, while your friend’s divorce did not include child custody issues. Working with an attorney is the best way to determine the specific needs of your divorce. Still, there are some basic procedures that might apply. We discuss those steps below.
1. FILE PETITION
The first step in the divorce process is filing a petition. This must be done even if both spouses are okay with divorcing. One spouse must file a petition with the court to ask for a divorce. This petition states the grounds for divorce. In California, this is typically “irreconcilable differences.”
2. TEMPORARY ORDERS
If a spouse is dependent on the other for financial support or will have custody of the children, that spouse will need to ask the court for temporary orders for support and custody. A temporary order for these things is usually granted within a few days and remains in effect until a full court hearing. If the spouse seeking the temporary order is the same spouse that is filing the petition, they should file the temporary order at the same time. If the spouse seeking the temporary order did not file the petition, they need to file their request for the temporary order as soon as possible.
3. SERVICE OF PROCESS
The spouse that files the divorce petition will also need to proof of service of process. This is a document that proves a copy of the divorce petition was given and received by the other spouse. You can either work with a process server, or in most cases when you work with a divorce attorney, they handle this part of the process.
The spouse receiving the service of process needs to file a response to the petition. The responding spouse may want to dispute the alleged grounds for divorce. If there is disagreement regarding property division, support, custody, or any other issue, this should be set out in the response.
Spouses will need to negotiate their differences if there are any. This is when mediation or collaborative divorce processes work. If spouses still do not agree, they may need to go to trial.
If spouses cannot come to an agreement on any aspect of a divorce, they will need to go to trial where a divorce court judge will rule on the divorce agreement.
7. CREATION OF THE ORDER OF DISSOLUTION
The order of dissolution is a decree that officially ends the marriage and spells out how all aspects of a marriage, including: the property and debts, custody, support and any other issues are to be divided. Two spouses that are able to negotiate on their own are able to draft an order of dissolution and submit it to the court. If this complies with the set legal requirements and both parties entered into it knowingly and willingly, then a judge approves it.
WORKING WITH A DIVORCE ATTORNEY
If you are facing a divorce, you should work with a divorce attorney that can take a look at your specific situation and give you advice based on it, rather than approach it with a one size fits all mindset. Your specific situation will be particular to you and your marriage and the way your life was set up during the marriage. This might mean major financial decisions regarding retirement funds, property, child support and custody, and alimony. A divorce attorney will work with you to help you decide how you want to tackle these elements of your marriage and divorce, while also providing guidance and support. They will be able to lead you through the process while keeping you from procrastination and caving into pressure. They’ll also be able to help ensure you meet all the required timelines while ensuring that you get a fair case and trial should you need to go to court. Lastly, they’ll be able to help you find the freedom and new life you are seeking – one that is entirely on your terms.
San Diego, CA 92101
Phone: (619) 431-3131