No one ever says, “I do” while envisioning the day her marriage will end, but sometimes those promises of forever are simply unable to stand the test of time. When the realization hits that a marriage is over, taking the steps toward officially ending the union can be a necessary component of moving on for both parties.
Be up front about your desire to end the marriage, writes psychotherapist Tammy Nelson in her Huffington Post contribution “Ending Your Marriage with Integrity". If you know in your heart that a divorce is truly what you want, don't commit to an attempt at saving the marriage. A direct and honest approach will save you both additional heartache.
Even though you have decided to officially end the marriage, counseling may prove to be a safe place for the two of you to tackle the questions and challenges that will present themselves over the course of filing for divorce. Address the possibility of counseling with your spouse in an attempt to move forward as amicably as possible.
Review your state divorce laws, suggests the Cornell University Law School's Legal Information Institute article “Divorce and Separation: An Overview”. Divorce laws vary by state.
Consult with an attorney to get the process started. Using a mediator may also be an option if you hope to keep costs down, and avoid a lengthy court battle.
Set boundaries around your relationship moving forward, suggests Nelson. If there are reasons for continued contact between you and your ex, such as shared custody of children, avoiding personal discussions and clearly defining the rules of your relationship can help to prevent unnecessary conflict.
Allow yourself to mourn the end of your marriage and attempt to have some empathy for your ex, who may be doing the same. Reach out to friends and family who can serve as sources of support during this time.
Maintain an open line of communication with any children involved, ensuring they know the divorce is not their fault, writes psychologist Marie Hartwell-Walker, in the Psych Central article “Helping Kids Cope with Your Amicable Divorce.”