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Can Filing For Divorce Save A Marriage?

Your marriage is in trouble but you don’t know what to do.  There are problems your spouse either doesn’t see and/or doesn’t think are serious.  Or is behaving in a way that hurts you and/or your kids.  What you may really want is to for your spouse to seek counseling, but of course, he or she is refusing.  So how will filing for divorce help?

Well, filing for divorce does not necessarily mean going through with it.  As sometimes a person just needs to be shown that the situation is serious.  Yes, it might seem extreme to seek a divorce, but some situations require extreme.  And you don’t even necessarily need to file for the divorce.  Rather sometimes just having the papers prepared and the other person actually seeing in black and white what could happen if things don’t change gets results.  And we can prepare divorce papers for just a small down payment.  Granted, some people don’t believe it until they see a case number stamped by the court and know it’s real.  Yes, filing and paying court fees (so spending $500-700) is a lot of money… but if it does the trick and saves the marriage, isn’t a marriage worth that?

So you can file for a divorce and while it takes a minimum of 60 days (the waiting period in Arizona), at the end of the 60 days if you’re not sure about things, ie: if your spouse is getting help, behaviors are changing, there’s hope for the marriage, then you don’t go through with the divorce.  A divorce can sit for at least 8 months (and sometimes longer with extensions granted).   If things change for good, then, great, you don’t go through with the divorce.  But if during the 8 months you saw changes, but then the old behavior returned, then you go through with it.  And this way you know you gave it your best shot.

And that’s what’s important – to know you gave it your best shot.  So if you have papers prepared or even filed, and then things work out, great, you worked it out. And, yes, spent some money to do so, but worth every penny. And if it doesn’t work, then you go through with the divorce. And you know you gave it your best.  We have some people (actually many) who file the divorce, see changes, reconcile and then don’t go through with the divorce.  And the 8 months pass and the case is dropped by the court.  Unfortunately, also very often we see these same people months, even years later. Ready to file again. And go through with it this time. And they’re most often embarrassed that they didn’t go through with it the first time and now they’re paying again. But as I tell them, there’s nothing wrong with that. As this way they know they gave it their best. And had they gone through with it the first time, they may have always wondered if it was the right thing. Whereas now, the second time around, they KNOW it’s the right thing.

So sometimes, yes, filing for divorce can save your marriage. But even if it doesn’t, it does often allow you to give your marriage your best shot. And while not saving your marriage, does save your peace of mind.