The first and most obvious question that you should ask yourself before you begin a divorce is do you really want a divorce? Under Florida law, the legal requirement for divorce is simple—the court must find that your marriage is “irretrievably broken” prior to dissolving the marriage. From a practical standpoint, whether your marriage is irretrievably broken depends primarily on yours or your spouse’s view of the status of your marriage. If you are potentially considering a divorce, the very first thing that you should resolve is your level of certainty that you either cannot or will not save or fix your marriage. If you have resolved that issue, then you could testify to the court that your marriage is irretrievably broken and satisfy the legal requirement.
Over the years, I have met with hundreds of people who are unhappy and considering a divorce. In many of those cases, when we have spent time discussing the reasons for divorce and whether there is anything that would save the marriage, they often were unable to really say that their marriage could not be fixed and that they were not willing to work at it any longer. In fact, oftentimes a marriage can be saved through marital or even individual counseling, if one or both parties are willing to go that route. There are many professionals who offer such assistance, and there are a great number of resources to assist couples in avoiding divorce.
In reaching a decision on whether your marriage is irretrievably broken, sometimes it is helpful to consider what your goals are in getting a divorce.
Divorce is quite simply the end of the legal and social contract that marriage creates. In some circumstances, divorce may provide financial independence from a spendthrift spouse. It may provide relief from a personality disordered, violent, abusive or addicted spouse. It may offer parties the opportunity to move forward in their lives after any love and affection that they may have had for the other spouse is gone.
In certain circumstances, divorce may effectively end the need for any contact between the parties, and so may offer you complete relief from a difficult situation or a difficult partner. However, in many instances—especially in situations where children are involved—the parties may be required to interact and be involved with one another for much, if not the remainder, of their lives. The amount of contact, cooperation or involvement of the parties on an ongoing basis will be heavily dependent on the facts of the individual case. Will you continue to co-parent children? Are there any involved financial situations that will require communication or other interaction between you going forward?
It is important to remember that while divorce will sever the marriage, it will not necessarily change how a person responds or reacts to situations or who he or she is.
So many times people think that divorce is a panacea for all of the problems that the parties have. Often, however, in the absence of affective therapeutic or judicial resolution, some of the same issues that plagued the parties in the marriage—ineffective or poor communication skills, for example—will continue to be an impediment to the parties post-divorce. It is important that you understand how divorce will impact you and your children, if you have children, before making the choice to divorce. Your therapist or counselor can answer questions about how you, your spouse, or your children, will likely deal with a divorce on an emotional level while an attorney can advise you of what to expect from the legal side of things. Often, you need this information first, to really decide whether you want a divorce, and therefore to decide that your marriage is irretrievably broken.
These are just some of the issues you might consider when deciding if you really want a divorce. At Nicole L. Goetz, P.L. we have the knowledge and experience to guide you through the divorce process from start to finish, from an evaluation of your situation to the litigation and appeal of your case, if necessary. If you have questions, would like to receive more information, or need an attorney to assist you during this difficult and often complicated process, please call our office in Naples, Florida to schedule a confidential consultation with our attorneys.
The information provided on law and legal topics is designed for general information only and does not constitute nor should it be considered legal advice. It is not a substitute nor should it be considered a substitute for legal advice from a qualified attorney knowledgeable about your specific factual situation