Should I Get a Divorce? Signs Your Marriage is Over.


When “till death do you part” ends early, creating a new life on your own can be complicated, and the emotions surrounding it can quickly overwhelm you.

Sometimes relationships run their course.

The reasons for even the most amicable divorce are nearly endless. While some may be relatively innocuous, others can be devastating and destructive. One reason is abuse—whether that means physical, verbal, or some other form. The agony of abuse may even equal your fear of leaving and the dangerous consequences that could ensue.

Other marriages dissolve when one spouse falls in love with someone else, which could result in infidelity, an often unforgivable offense for many. Affairs can lead to an excess of bitterness and a highly hostile divorce process stemming from the pain of a relationship betrayed. Falling in love with someone else, however, could also just be a sign that the two of you have grown apart over the years.

You may simply want more independence from your spouse, time for yourself, and time to explore your own unique hobbies and passions alone.

A breakdown in communication often occurs between you and your spouse. It might mean more heated arguments and fights regarding who unloaded the dishwasher, or it could involve major differences in your philosophy of life. Whether you happen to be arguing about religion, politics, or parenting, you might find yourself miserable with the near constant bickering.

One of the major contributing factors for divorce is disagreement over finances. Arguing about how much money you have in the bank or objecting to your spouse’s spending habits can create a chasm that is impossible for many marriages to cross.

Of course, it could also be any combination of these contributing factors that lead to the eventual dissolution of your marriage. For some couples, it can be an amicable and natural next step for their relationship. For others, bitterness and hostility toward their spouse may be involved.

How do you know when your marriage is officially over?

When your marriage is coming to an end, you might wonder how to tell when the relationship is officially over, but marriage has many of the same qualities as all relationships. Paying attention to the finer details of interactions with your spouse can help you determine if this is truly the end. No book or resource is a substitute for your own intuition, but it helps to know that you are not alone as you and your spouse struggle in your marriage.

It often begins with one spouse wanting a divorce. You may be the one pursuing the divorce, with your spouse tagging along reluctantly. Or perhaps you are the one who is being dragged through the process while your spouse eagerly awaits the finalization of your divorce. On other occasions, divorce may be a mutual preference, where both of you can amicably negotiate and settle your differences equitably.

Your marriage is likely over when you decide that the pain of leaving your married life behind is significantly less than the pain of remaining in an unhappy union. Living under the same roof with another individual who causes you great anxiety, pain, or stress will eventually take its toll on your entire worldview. As it continues, the pain of staying becomes greater than the pain of leaving.

The emotional impact of divorce can vary greatly. Whether you feel celebratory and victorious to be free of your other half, depressed and mournful over losing your best friend, or anxious and worried at starting a new single life, the spectrum of emotions is almost endless. There is no wrong response to the often painful process of divorce. Feeling your emotions can help you handle the end of your relationship in a healthy way.

Have a team to help you through the process.

Divorce (n): the legal dissolution of a marriage by a court or other competent body.

If you pursue divorce, the life you have now—no matter how long you may have been married—will be legally divided. Even though your emotions may be running high, you must understand that every decision you make in divorce will ultimately affect the rest of your life. To put it another way, divorce is a business deal, and you are the CEO. Regardless of how you feel, you have to make rational business decisions to protect your future.

First, you should hire a team of divorce professionals to help make the process more manageable. If you are struggling with the emotional aspect of your divorce, the first person to add to your team may be a therapist. This person can help you find positive and constructive methods to cope with the tumultuous feelings you may be having. It is also usually beneficial to lean on close friends for support.

Second, you should hire a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst. A CDFA will help analyze your financial situation, gather and prepare relevant financial materials, and help you craft a settlement that will make financial sense for you in the future. You should consider having a CDFA on your team before hiring a divorce attorney because one of the first steps an attorney will take is to ask you to gather complex financial information for a financial affidavit that is legally binding.

Finally, a competent divorce attorney will handle the legal aspects of your divorce. Make sure you find an attorney whose primary practice is family law, as divorce has a complex set of rules that are different from other areas of the law. Having a divorce attorney will be essential for resolving your divorce, so it is crucial that you make a wise decision to help protect your interests during settlement negotiations.

Moving On

As painful as the process may be, it will end. If you make smart decisions and take everything one step at a time, know that the rest of your life lies ahead. You can do it.

Shawn Leamon, MBA, CDFA

Dallas, Texas

Shawn C. H. Leamon is Managing Partner of LaGrande Global, a firm that helps successful families manage large financial transitions like divorce, inheritance and selling a business.

He earned his Bachelor of Arts from Dartmouth College, double majoring in Economics and Philosophy, and his Masters in Business Administration at Spain’s IE Business School.

Before founding LaGrande Global, Shawn helped manage $1.1 billion in client assets at Bernstein Global Wealth Management. He also worked as a credit research analyst at J.P. Morgan. He is a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst, and he has been an advisor to numerous high-stakes divorce cases.

Shawn is the author of two well-received finance books: Managing Private Wealth: Principles, and Divorce and Your Money: The No-Nonsense Guide, both published in 2016.

In his spare time, Shawn is an ultra-endurance athlete and has competed in events as long as 24 hours. He is an Eagle Scout and a member of the Alumni Board of Greenhill School.