Words like property division, child custody, and alimony have become commonplace in America. That’s because 40%-50% of married couples get divorced. However, just because it happens all of the time, divorce or even the decision to get a divorce isn’t any easier. If you are one of the people contemplating leaving your spouse, here are some questions to ask yourself first.


Are you really ready to leave?


Many people may threaten to leave in the heat of the moment, but don’t really mean it. This can happen if you’re angry, trying to get your partner to listen, or trying to get your partner to change. However, you may not actually be ready for a divorce. If that’s the case, you should try talking to your partner about what you can do to make the marriage work.


Are you physically and emotionally ready to leave?


As you have probably heard, there are a lot of steps in a divorce. Will you need an attorney? What about child custody, alimony, or property division? These will be difficult details to manage—with or without a divorce attorney. If you don’t even want to think about those things yet or you don’t have the resources, you may not be ready for a legal divorce. If you have strong feelings of love OR hatred towards your partner, you probably aren’t emotionally ready either. You may want to talk to your partner about a separation instead or decide to work on the relationship.


What would you gain by getting a divorce?


If you want to divorce someone to hurt them, make them pay, or to make them change their mind, you would be doing it for the wrong reasons. Going through custody battles, property division, or fighting for alimony can cost both you and your spouse time and money. If, on the other hand, you want to live separate lives, meet someone new, and move on, you may be ready for a divorce.


Are you still in love?


If you still love your spouse, but something in the relationship is creating an imbalance or struggle, you may not be ready for divorce. You may want to try to work on the relationship before you decide to leave. If you are having financial problems, you could talk to a financial advisor. If one spouse is angry all of the time, they could try an anger management class. If someone has had an affair, you could seek couples counseling. However, some things can’t be rectified, and you may ultimately decide that, despite your feelings, you need to go your separate ways.

Are you already living separate lives?


If you and your spouse have been doing everything separately already, you may be ready for a divorce. Even if you live in the same house or have children together, you may be making decisions independently and not considering what the other person may want. If you think in terms of “me” rather than “us,” you either need to become a unified couple or separate.


Are you ready for the difficulties of divorce?


Divorce affects more than you and your spouse. Your children, extended family, and friends will be affected. Everyone can feel hurt, rejected, inadequate, or lonely after a divorce. There will be ups and downs, and you will need support from loved ones, an attorney, or a therapist to be able to get through a divorce when you may be feeling opposition from other people. If you don’t have support to deal with other people’s disappointment and sadness, you may not be ready for a divorce.


If you don’t want to change your financial situation or lifestyle, you may not be ready either. Divorce often includes property division and moving to a new home, so you must be prepared for this step. Most importantly, if you aren’t ready to detach from your spouse physically or emotionally, you may want to reconsider divorce.


If you aren’t able to answer these questions, you may want to reconsider leaving your spouse, at least, for now. You could try working on the relationship first, or try to get yourself in a place that enables you to leave. Your family, friends, and professionals can help you get through a divorce if and when you decide you need one.