Frequently asked questions
These questions cover some of the basic concerns
people have about divorce
These questions cover some of the basic concerns people have about divorce
How do I tell my spouse that I want a divorce?
Ideally, you want to have your spouse be a full partner in the decision. Pushing a divorce on someone can create lots of animosity and resentment.
Get with your spouse and acknowledge the fact that your relationship hasn’t been working and that both of you have been suffering. If possible, give your spouse an opportunity to turn the situation around. If your situation doesn’t change, proceed with the divorce. Giving someone notice of a possible divorce eliminates an unpleasant surprise and increases the chances of working together.
Do everything you can to make sure your spouse doesn’t feel invalidated or rejected. Tell your spouse that you love him or her, but that living together creates suffering. Tell the person that the divorce is not going to change your relationship. Your relationship is forever. It’s only going to change the form.
What is the legal process?
The first step in the divorce process is to visit an attorney and get all the advice and information you can. Learn what the law says about your situation and what the issues are that need to be resolved.
When you are ready, have the attorney file a petition for divorce. This starts a waiting period. The length of the waiting period varies from state to state. During this time, work with your spouse to resolve the legal questions.
Once you have worked out all the details, take your agreement back to the attorney. Have him look it over and then do the paperwork. Once the waiting period is over, you can go to the court and finalize the divorce. The legal process is fast and relatively effortless when the two of you come to an agreement on your own. The problem comes when you can’t.
What happens if we can’t agree to the terms?
You can expect to have disagreements. It's how you go about resolving them that's important. The key to effectively resolving disputes is to look for solutions that work for everyone. When you do this, solutions show up quickly. In fact, you will be surprised at how fast you can find them.
Unfortunately, we don’t look for them. We are usually more interested in fighting to make sure that we get what we want. This makes your situation worse. When you fight to get what you want, you force the other person to fight to protect him or herself from you. When both of you fight to protect yourself from the other, resolving disputes becomes like tug-of war. The process is very slow and everyone gets hurt.
If you have to use the legal process to resolve your issues, make sure you use a non-adversarial attorney. These attorneys are more interested in resolving conflict than fueling the fire. A gladiator attorney can create lots of suffering and is seldom necessary.
How can I find a non-adversarial attorney?
There are countless individuals who have gone to an attorney for an uncontested divorce only to have it become contested overnight. When you use an adversarial attorney, you can expect conflict and suffering.
If you want to minimize suffering, find a non-adversarial attorney. A good way to do this is to look for an attorney that does mediation or collaborative law. These attorneys tend to be less adversarial. Call your local bar association for a list of names.
How do I stop the divorce?
There is nothing you can do to make your husband or wife stay. In fact, everything you do to make the person stay, pushes the person further away. Your best chance of avoiding a divorce is to create an environment where the other person feels so loved and appreciated that he or she would never want to leave. To do this, you have to do two things:
First, put your focus on healing your relationship, one human being to another. Make sure the other person feels loved, accepted, and appreciated, just the way he or she is. The more someone feels special around you, the more that person will want to be with you.
Second, be willing for the person to leave. This is extremely important because the more you hang on to someone, the more that person will want to avoid you. Let the person go and don't fight to prevent the divorce. Fighting the divorce will have the person resent you, which is the exact opposite of the result you want to produce.
The more you are willing to lose the person, the more you can create an environment of love, and this is the most important thing you can do if you want to save your marriage.
How do I heal my hurt?
To heal your hurt, take the focus off of your circumstances and focus on releasing the negative emotion that is being triggered. To do this, dive into your hurt and cry it as hard as you can. Feel it willingly like a child. Reach in, grab it, and pull it out. Feel the hurt of your circumstances and the deeper hurt of feeling worthless, not good enough, not worth loving, or whatever your issue is.
When you lose a relationship, you can expect to have waves of hurt. Each wave of hurt is an opportunity for more healing. When a wave comes, dive into it and feel the hurt willingly like a child. Let it come and let it go. Do everything you can to get the hurt out of you.
How do I let go of my resentment?
When you resent, a major part of you closes down. Your walls of protection get stronger and you become more defensive in your other relationships. Resentment is very destructive.
It is also a subconscious defense mechanism. When we resent, we are forcefully blaming the other person. We do this so we don’t have to look at ourselves. We don’t want to feel the hurt of feeling worthless, not good enough, not worth loving, or whatever our deeper hurt is.
The moment you become willing to feel this hurt, the need for the resentment disappears and the resentment loses power. The next step is to notice that the other person is doing the very best that person can with his or her very limited ability. Then forgive the person for not being wiser and more aware.
How can I get a divorce with only one attorney?
It is considered a conflict of interest for one attorney to represent both parties in a divorce. However, if you and your spouse are able to work out all the details, there is a way to get around this.
Select an attorney and tell him that you want an uncontested divorce. Tell him that you and your spouse are going to work out all the details and that you want him to do the paperwork. Although he can only represent one of you, ask if he is willing to visit with both of you. Tell him that you want him to answer questions openly and honestly, no matter who asks the question. If he agrees, schedule an appointment.
Then visit the attorney along with your spouse. Have him explain the law and procedure to both of you. Find all the issues that need to be resolved and get all your questions answered. At the end of the meeting, decide who the attorney will officially represent. Then go home and work out the details.
If you want more peace of mind, or if you have any doubts, visit another attorney. Make sure you are getting good advice and that you have all the information you need to make your decisions. Once you have worked out all the details, go back to the attorney and have him do the paperwork.
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