Is divorce the right option for us?

Most marriages experience highs and lows, but there are instances where a relationship has run its course and the couple decide to separate.  This is when people seek advice from us on divorce, as a couple or individually.

Formally ending a marriage is a huge decision and, even if you’re convinced it’s the best course of action, it can be an emotional process. Most relationships begin with love, excitement, and hope for a lifetime together, so the decision to end it can be difficult.

This blog will help you determine whether it is time to consider divorce and, if it is, help prepare you for it.

Is it time to consider divorce?

Here are some of the most common reasons why couples may choose to divorce. Does one or more describe your situation? You have:

  • Regular arguments that cannot be resolved despite attempts to communicate and find a workable solution
  • A breakdown in communication, leading to deep misunderstandings and issues
  • Broken trust, which is impossible to rebuild
  • An experience of any form of domestic abuse (whether it’s physical, emotional, coercive, verbal, sexual or financial) is dangerous for you and any children involved. In such instances, we strongly advise you to seek help immediately. Avoid discussing divorce with your spouse, as preparing to leave increases the risk of abuse worsening
  • An unfulfilling, disconnected relationship where you and your spouse have grown apart or become incompatible, despite efforts to work on your relationship. You may also be lacking intimacy
  • A feeling of being trapped in a relationship where you and your partner have fundamentally different aims and goals for the future

What is the divorce process?

Below is a brief outline of the divorce process:

  • One or both parties apply to a solicitor for a divorce
  • After a 20-week period of reflection, the applicant or couple decide whether they wish to proceed
  • If they do, the court makes a Conditional Order
  • Six weeks later, the court can make a Final Order

The process takes a minimum of 26 weeks, but negotiations, processing and administration usually means it takes longer.

How do you speak to your spouse about divorce?

If you are considering talking to your spouse about divorce, the way you begin the conversation will depend on your specific situation. If the relationship has already broken down your spouse may not be shocked by the news. However, if they are unaware of how you are feeling, they may feel hurt and become emotional or angry. You need to prepare yourself to support your spouse with their emotions.

The first step is to consider where and when you want to initiate the conversation. It’s best to pick a neutral space that’s free from interruptions, so you can comfortably express your feelings.

Avoid apportioning blame to your spouse. Instead, focus on expressing your honest feelings. For example, say, ‘I feel…’ rather than, ‘You make me feel…’

Be prepared to listen to your spouse calmly. Do not interrupt, even if you disagree with what they are saying, as that may result in an argument. Avoid bringing up past conflicts and, instead, concentrate on practical matters and the future.

It is also important to give your spouse space to process their emotions. If you find it challenging to communicate or talking is not productive, seeking professional help from a counsellor or mediator may be beneficial.

What do we need to consider?

Below is a brief list of elements you will need to consider as part of your divorce settlement:

  • A financial agreement, taking into account pensions, property, savings and investments, income from businesses and debts
  • What will happen to the matrimonial home and any assets, including cars, furniture, jewellery and other personal property
  • Where dependent children will live, who will have access to them when and maintenance payments. In most divorces, their needs are rightly prioritised

Divorce will affect our friends and family too – what do I do?

Talking to others about how you feel can help you relieve the stress of divorce and feelings of isolation. But remember, it’s a personal matter between you and your spouse, so try not to let anyone influence your decisions.

You may come across people who say their divorce was the best thing they ever did but, if you dig a little deeper, you may find it took a great deal of anxiety, financial worry and uncertainty about the future to get to a point where they could put it behind them and start their lives afresh. Don’t let them rush or pressure you.

With so much to consider and other people involved, it’s important to appreciate from the outset that you may never find an ideal outcome for everyone. You need to prioritise yourself and your children, whilst supporting your spouse as best you can so proceedings remain amicable.

Don’t be afraid to tell friends or family if you don’t feel like talking about what is going on at home. You may just want to enjoy their company to take your mind off your divorce, and they need to acknowledge that.

If a couple has one or more dependent children, stepchildren or both, going through a divorce can be a challenging experience for them. However, staying in an unhealthy marriage can have detrimental effects on their mental and emotional wellbeing, confidence, and more, so staying together for the sake of the children may not be the best option.

In our June blog, we will provide guidance on how to support children through divorce and in our July blog we’ll talk about how to move on after divorce, so look out for those.

Contact AGR Law

Our experienced team can support you with complex and straightforward divorces, providing the best legal advice and representation in a sensitive and empathetic manner. Call us on 0116 340 0094 or email