Almost no one gets married believing the union will end.
That's why Birmingham divorce lawyers know so many soon-to-be-exes are thunderstruck when it happens. They often aren't prepared for the emotional and financial repercussions that inevitably follow.
This is the reason it's so crucial to consult with an attorney when you first begin to contemplate a separation. An attorney will help you prepare the necessary documents and give you some indication of how the proceedings will move forward, which assets you may be able to protect and how to ensure your interests are defended.
If you have children, your attorney can help you determine beforehand what a co-parenting agreement would look like or whether it's possible to obtain full custody.
There are many considerations, and it's not a decision you should make without careful consideration, planning and legal input.
However, one thing a divorce attorney can't do is tell you whether you should get divorced in the first place. Excepting cases of abuse, it's often advisable to try to work it out first. But how do you know that you've reached the breaking point?
Again, we can't answer that question for you, but here are some questions to ask yourself as you're mulling this difficult decision.
- Do you suspect your spouse may be cheating? This is a deal-breaker for many couples. Although Alabama is a no-fault divorce state, if you can prove it, a family law judge may take into account how much money was spent on the third-party individual during the affair.
- Has your spouse been diagnosed with a mental disorder or addiction and has failed to seek treatment or counseling? Most people tend to try to deal with this type of issue longer than they should. If your spouse is seeking help, that's one thing. But when he or she refuses, they aren't keeping up their end of the deal.
- Do you fight more often than you get along? For many couples, it's a quality of life issue. Sometimes marital counseling helps. Sometimes it doesn't. It comes down to whether you want to go on living this way, or whether you, your spouse and your children would be better off if you went your separate ways.
- Do you have access to your joint accounts and bills? It's not uncommon that one spouse will handle the bill-paying. But when access to that information is purposely restricted, it can be a red flag that the person with the checkbook is using it as a form of manipulative control. Your divorce attorney will likely advise you that getting access to some of that information prior to filing is an important part of the process.
- Is your spouse verbally, physically or sexually abusive? Many individuals in these situations take an especially long time before they make a firm decision to leave. It's also a well-researched fact that leaving an abusive spouse without a solid action plan can be extremely dangerous. Your attorney can help refer you to resources to make a safe exit plan for you and your children.
If you are contemplating a divorce in Birmingham, contact Birmingham Family Law Attorney Steven Eversole at (866) 831-5292.