When’s The Best Time To Get Divorced?

The Best Time For A Divorce

I’ll wait until the kids are older/have graduated…

I’ll wait until after the holidays/birthdays/anniversaries…

I’ll wait until I have money…

I’ll wait until after Grandma dies…

South Carolina Divorce Roadmap

I’ll wait until after…

I’ll wait until…

I’ll wait…

I’ll wait…

I’ll wait…

I’ve heard all these reasons/excuses. I used them myself. I told myself it would be better for the kids if I stayed. They need a two-parent household. What will people think? I was raised in a Christian home – divorce is a sin. I’ll pray harder. It will get better. I’ll just be a better wife. My list went on and on.

Meanwhile, the kids – the very ones I thought I was staying in this for – heard, saw, and endured the tension and constant verbal fighting in the household, and I became more and more depressed, gained more and more weight, and suffered incapacitating migraines. I was not an effective mother. My husband was there in presence only. He went to work, came home, and locked himself in the bedroom. We had tried marriage counseling more times than I care to count. We were ineffective parents, and our children suffered for it. There was nothing left of our marriage, yet we were desperately hanging on to it, I told myself, “for the kids.”

In hindsight, I sincerely believe I did more damage to my children by staying than I would have done by leaving years earlier. By the time I left, I was emotionally and physically unhealthy, 80+ pounds overweight, depressed, medicated, insecure, and on the verge of serious medical problems. My youngest son was in the midst of legal issues, which took several years to sort out, as he was a very angry young man and continued to test the limits of the law, as well as my patience. His father, although he faithfully paid his court-ordered child support, decided he did not want to exercise his parenting rights, so he never contacted our sons, because to do so (he said), he would have to go through me. Our older son graduated after two years and went on to join the Navy, but the younger one continued to have legal and emotional problems throughout his adolescence. Thankfully, I can say he has been able to turn his life around and is a delightful young man with a great job and a precious daughter. I cannot be more proud of him.

Is there ever a “good” time for a divorce? If there is, I can’t think of it. Nobody enters a marriage, with all the hopes and dreams for the future, planning for a divorce. Divorce is painful for everyone involved. If there is any hope for rekindling the love within the marriage, by all means, do so. Seek counseling, speak with your religious leader, whatever you think will help.

However, in my experience, if the marriage is over, you know it. And that is the time for the divorce. Dragging it out or waiting for some milestone is not being kind to anyone. It’s going to hurt just as much – if not more – if you wait as it will if you go ahead and take the plunge now. Giving false hope to your spouse, or your kids, or your parents, or your Grandma is not kind. Furthermore, staying in a marriage full of animosity and tension is not only upsetting for everyone in the household, it’s unhealthy and potentially dangerous.

So when is the best time for a divorce? When you know it’s over. Not when your mom thinks it’s over, not when your best friend thinks it’s over, not when anyone else thinks it’s over. Don’t make excuses, don’t wait. You know whether it can get better. And if it can’t, the time is now.

Kathryn Dailey Hubbard, Esq.

Kathryn is the lawyer in our office. Clients love her.

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