My Spouse Wants to Leave Me, Now What?
Updated: Aug 31, 2021
If you're reading this, odds are you recently had one of the most unpleasant conversations of your life. Maybe you were having dinner when it happened, maybe your husband/wife never came home from work, or maybe you both saw this coming for a while now. Regardless of how it happened, many people feel lost and confused on what to do next. "How do I find a lawyer?" "Will I have to go to court?" "How quick is this whole process?" If you have children, maybe your mind is analyzing how they will react.
It's normal to feel like your world has flipped upside down. It's okay to feel myriad emotions: anger, sadness, relief, confusion, and maybe even excitement. This is where finding someone knowledgeable who has experience navigating not only the legal side of separation but also the emotional side, is invaluable.
If you are certain that the odds of reconciling with your spouse are low, you have some options on how to move forward.
The first thing to understand is that a divorce is different than being legally separated. Legal separation means you are taking the first step toward leading separate lives, but legally you are still married. Divorce is when the court officially recognizes the end of your relationship, and legally you are no longer married. There are 3 circumstances that can qualify someone for a divorce: 1) being separated for one year 2) adultery 3) cruelty.
This means that from the moment you and your spouse decide to call it quits, unless you are experiencing instances of adultery or cruelty, you will need to wait at least 1 year before applying for a divorce.
The next thing to consider is what goes into a legal separation. When two people separate, they need to determine how they will share everything moving forward. This means, you will need to determine who will care for the children, what the parenting schedule will entail, how will you divide your matrimonial property, assets, and so on.
Perhaps contrary to popular belief, the separation process is much more involved than the process of divorce. Couples can either negotiate a separation agreement, or if they cannot agree on all issues, they may pursue litigation and settle their disputes in court. There are pros and cons to both routes, but it is important to realize that litigation is lengthy and costly. Usually, if two people can agree on an agreement, that process is much cleaner and quicker than fighting in court.
It is important to note that every relationship has its own dynamic, its own circumstances, and that no two separations are identical. You may have a friend who went through a legal separation or divorce, but odds are their experience will differ from yours. Whether you will choose to represent yourself or retain a lawyer, we strongly encourage you to meet with a lawyer at least once to go over your legal rights and learn about your options. This will allow you to make an informed decision moving forward, and may be the boost of confidence you need to keep your head up during this challenging time.
If you would like to meet with Jolanta to go over your options and learn about your legal rights, contact us today!
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