All marriages have their ups and downs. A “down” period, by itself, is usually not reason to abandon a healthy marriage. But, of course, not all marriages are “healthy.” If you are unhappy in a marriage, visiting with a good therapist may be the first step in trying to figure-out where you are, and where you wish to go. Here are some things to think about, and perhaps to discuss with your therapist: When to consider Divorce, Part 1; When to Consider Divorce, Part 2; and, When to Consider Divorce, Part 3.
When is Annulment an Option?
Today, we will discuss annulment, as a possible alternative to divorce. We will discuss what it is, how it differs from divorce, and when it is available. Also, at the end of this post, we will direct you to other posts about when to consider either option.
Annulments are judgments of a court that declare that a purported marriage was never valid. In contrast, divorces are judgments of a court that dissolve a valid marriage. While there is no existing marriage once either of those judgments is entered there are significant practical differences between the two procedures.
Previously, we have discussed the benefits of a happy marriage, as well as warning signs in this article; and, the types of marriages that might be saved, and are worth fighting for, in this post following-up the first one. Today, we will discuss different types of commitments to a marriage, and which is required for a marriage to be happy and thrive (and so, for divorce to not need to be considered).
In traditional, ceremonial, marriages, the individuals to be married make vows to one another. They, typically, will publicly attest to their mutual love, devotion, and expressed intention to work towards a lifelong, supportive relationship. That commitment is usually “for better, or for worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health; to love and to cherish, till death do us part.” And yet, despite those vows, many once-married people find themselves divorcing or divorced. Why is that?ns (discussed in the articles linked above) present themselves. Divorce should not be considered, at least not initially, in a non-abusive relationship, where the partners are appropriately committed. So, that raises the issue: what type of commitment is “appropriate?”
In the last post, we discussed the initial four steps to take after deciding to divorce. That article is here. Being familiar with those actions, will help put these next steps into context. As we stated there, ideally you would work through all of these steps before a divorce is initiated by either spouse. Your head will be clearer then, and you will be able to think without the stress of a pending divorce hanging over your head.
Step 5 - Secure Your Information. The first obvious step in this regard is to change your mailing address; but not for your spouse’s mail. And, advise people whom you expect might write to you, to use your new mailing address (which might be a post office box). Storing copies of important documents electronically, in the cloud, is a good way to be able to access them. But, it’s only good if you, and only you, can access them. So, new accounts and passwords are a must.
Deciding to divorce is a big decision. Once it has been made, proper preparation is, like with so many things in life, a key to making the outcome more likely to be positive for you and your family. And, yet, because it can be such an emotional decision, many people do not develop a plan for successfully moving through the process. This piece is designed to guide you in developing that plan.
Initially, it is important to go through this process before beginning the divorce. That is when issues can be pondered without having the pressure of a pending divorce affecting your decision-making
Step 1 Who will be your allies during this process? Divorce can be emotionally-taxing. One or both spouses may make emotional decisions that create chaos, confusion, or worse. It is easier to get through those times with allies---family members and friends who can provide support. It is also important to have people who you can talk to regularly; esp. if other family members and friends decide to not be there for you at this time. Having the support of allies help you to better weather the storms of your case.
Step 2 Do you understand the property matters? Do you have, or can you get, documentation (hard copy and/or virtual) pertaining to all debts and assets of the family? Car titles, mortgage statements, retirement and brokerage account statements, bank or credit union statements, loan applications, credit card bills, health and life insurance policies, and tax returns are all important to have. Do you know where to obtain any of those documents which you do not already have? Is there anyone who can assist you with this process? Be sure to store electronic versions of those documents in the cloud (such as via OneDrive, Dropbox, Google Drive, or Box), so that you can access them from anywhere that you have an internet connection