Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Are You Actually Ready for a Divorce?

How do you know you are ready for a divorce?

 
While Gevurtz Menashe handles a myriad of family law matters, the largest part of our firm’s practice involves the dissolution of marriages. Our clients come to us at varying steps in the decision-making process. Some clients are just thinking about divorce for the first time and want to find out as much as possible before they even entertain ending their marriage. Other clients have thought about divorce for several months, even years, and are ready to move forward with the legal process. And there are a lot of people somewhere in between – not sure if their marriage is savable but not sure if they want to end their relationship in its entirety either. Many people are simply looking for more information about the process. Wherever you may be in the process, it’s important to us to provide our clients the resources and time necessary to make this very important and intimate decision. 

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Should you get a divorce?


Before we even begin our representation, we want to be sure our clients are actually ready to move forward with the divorce process.  While we are not mental health professionals ourselves, we will often ask our clients the following questions to help them evaluate whether they are ready to proceed with a divorce:
  • Have you tried marriage counseling?  While counseling is not for everyone, sometimes it can really help struggling couples learn how to communicate and work through their problems.  Alternatively, if the marriage is for certain over, couples’ counseling can sometime provide a healthy forum to communicate about divorce issues such as how to tell the children, what co-parenting in different homes looks like, etc.
 
  • Are there substance abuse issues that need to be addressed first?  We often encounter clients who are seeking a divorce because their spouse struggles with substance issues, and sometimes it’s our clients who have the issues themselves.  There are great in-patient and out-of patient treatment facilities in the area we refer our clients to.  There are also great programs to help spouses of substance abusers, which is equally important.  Sometimes treatment saves the marriage but even when it doesn’t, the divorce process will be much smoother if both parties are healthy and sober.
 
  • Have you talked about divorce with your support system?  Sometimes there are people who know us better than we know ourselves.  When making an important decision such as divorce, it’s essential to talk about it with at least one other person who you trust and can rely on.  This can be your counselor, clergy, relative, or friend.  Having a support system around you when making the decision and also as you go through the divorce process will be invaluable during each step of the way.
 
  • Are you and your children safe?  Most importantly, if a client’s or the children’s physical or emotional safety is at risk, we want to be sure there’s a safety plan in place to protect anyone in harm’s way.  If there is physical or emotional abuse by a party, we advise to end the relationship and seek help to protect yourself and your children, which can include legal protections.  
Although the divorce process affects all areas of our client’s life—physical, social, economic, spiritual and emotional, the court system is only able to address a very narrow slice of a very complicated situation. While we do our best to represent our clients in the legal realm, we encourage them to rely on other experts to give them guidance in these other important aspects. It’s important our clients have the emotional support necessary while we work out the legal process.

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If you are interested in learning more about the divorce process in Oregon or Washington, give us a call anytime. You can also check out our attorney profiles and read more here. When you’re ready, our legal staff will work with you to schedule a consultation with one of our family law attorneys who will provide information and resources to help with your decision. To reach us in Portland, call 503-227-1515. For our office in Vancouver, WA, call 360-823-0410.

By Paige A. De Muniz, Shareholder