If you are a mother or father in an unsatisfying marriage and you're contemplating divorce, you may be asking yourself, "Should I hold off on the divorce until our children are older?" While there is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, we can help shed light on your situation.
We don't know your circumstances, but we can say that there are definite situations where a divorce is in order – and sooner than later. Do any of the below ring true for you?
- You argue with your spouse constantly (in front of the children).
- Your spouse constantly criticizes you.
- Your spouse is verbally abusive.
- Your spouse is physically abusive.
- Your spouse is verbally or physically abusive towards your children.
- Your spouse is narcissistic.
- Your spouse is a pathological liar.
- Your spouse is dishonest and commits crimes (e.g. fraud crimes, drug crimes).
- You're pretty sure your spouse has, or is committing adultery.
- You simply do not trust your spouse.
- Your marriage is not setting a healthy example for your children.
- Your spouse tries to manipulate and control you.
If one or more of the above applies to your situation, you may want to seriously consider getting a divorce, even if your children are still at home. In many cases, spouses are in very unhealthy marriages and their children are constantly exposed to their parents' marital problems.
Experts agree that "children live what they learn," and if they are exposed to constant arguing, physical and emotional abuse, and a miserable family life, there is a good chance that they will repeat those same behaviors in their adult life. Our question is, are your children exposed to a happy and healthy marriage? If not, what are you going to do about it?
Are You Only Slightly Unhappy?
On the other hand, are you only slightly unhappy? Perhaps your husband or wife is a "great person" and you're having other issues – financial problems, attraction issues, disagreements over childrearing, in-law problems, etc.
Every couple has its share of ups and downs. If you are dealing with minor issues, perhaps it's time to put in a call to a marriage counselor, or another professional. If it's broken, that doesn't mean it can't be fixed.
If you do everything possible and you still can't resolve your problems with your spouse, then you may want to consider divorce. As far as the timing of the divorce and how it will affect your children – it all depends on your family dynamics.
If your children are very young, it may be easier to pull the plug when they don't know the difference. If they're older, they may be unhappy and just waiting for you to split up. Only you know your children and how they'll potentially react to a divorce.
If you have any questions, we'd be glad to help and offer you advice. We have dealt with hundreds of couples over the years and have seen and heard it all. Remember, we're just a phone call away!
If you need professional legal advice regarding a San Diego divorce, contact Claery & Hammond, LLP for a free, confidential consultation.