Couples divorce for a number of reasons, infidelity, money problems, lack of compatibility, domestic violence, religion and so on.
Often someone will come in to see me for legal advice to ‘just see where they stand’ or ‘to know what their options are’. Their marriage is in trouble, but they have not yet taken any steps towards separation or divorce. It is likely that they will later return to commence divorce proceedings in the following instances
1. ‘I think he is having an affair, he says he isn’t, but I don’t believe him.’
Clients will only come to see a lawyer as a last resort. Lawyers are expensive. During the course of my discussions with a client who is looking for information to help them decide what to do in their marriage, when someone believes that their spouse is having an affair, and have reasonable grounds for believing this, that is usually a sign that the marriage will end in divorce.
Even if the spouse is not having an affair (or denies it until the bitter end), there is clearly little to no trust in the other person.
The reason for this leading to divorce is not just the affair, but the lying, stonewalling or gas-lighting that goes with it. It is the total disregard for the innocent spouse. It will often be a while before this person actually goes ahead with a divorce, having been emotionally weakened by their spouse, and left doubting themselves. But sooner or later it is likely to happen.
2. ‘I just want to make sure I’m covered financially, just in case.’
These are people who know on an emotional level that their marriage is over. This can also be evident when a person redrafts their Last Will and Testament, sometimes many times, either cutting out their spouse or significantly reducing any gift to them.
This is a sign of an impending divorce because the person either no longer trusts their spouse with money, or holds them out as undeserving of their money. They no longer see a shared life together, even if they don’t realise it in doing so.
3. Where there is anger and contempt.
Some clients seek advice out of anger. And not just when asking for advice on a possible divorce. They will refer to their spouse in contemptuous terms or be dismissive of their opinions or desires. These marriages may not end quickly, but there is a better than average chance that it will end.
Sometimes the anger and contempt is the catalyst for the event that will eventually end the marriage, such as an affair or abuse of some form, be it financial, emotional or physical.
The contempt is of course evidence of a low regard and opinion of their spouse, and constant friction within the relationship.
Divorce rates are high, some couples even opting not to marry at all. There has been a shift in thinking, that life is too short, that we must grab all the happiness we can, and that marriage is for now, not for life.
The aforesaid signs do not usually come as a surprise to either party, and often the ‘guilty’ party is trying, even if just subconsciously to sabotage the relationship, with the aim that the ‘innocent’ party will end the marriage.
Do you see any of these signs in your marriage?
Even if you do – it’s not too late to steer the course to clamer seas – if that is what you want.
What are some of the signs that a marriage is heading for divorce that you’ve seen? Comment below and share your thoughts.
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