If you're considering divorce, ask these 7 questions first.

Getting married is widely thought of as one of the happiest days of your life. But what happens if the bad days start to outweigh the good after a while? 

In the sage words of Adele: divorce, babe, divorce.

According to the Australian Institute of Family Studies there has been an upward trend in divorces over the past few years. The year 2021 marked the highest number of divorces in Australia since 1976 with 56,244 couples deciding to go their separate ways.

So why has there been such a leap in marriages ending in divorce over the past 50 years? You could say that socially we have evolved a fair bit over the last half century. There's less of a stigma around divorce; fewer people are opting to 'stay together for the kids' and women are equipped with more support to leave domestic relationships that have become toxic or, in worse cases, a threat to their wellbeing and/or safety.

If you find yourself at somewhat of a crossroads in your marriage, you may be wondering if it's time to start thinking about a future without your spouse. It's never an easy or pleasant situation to be in — but sometimes it is the healthiest way forward.

However, saying you're ready to get a divorce and actually following through with it are two very different things — and the latter comes with a fair bit to consider.

We spoke to couples counselling psychologist and author of Affair Repair, Dee Tozer, who says the most common reason she sees for couples seeking divorce is a fundamental breakdown in the relationship.

"Typically all affectionate connection has gone usually due to the buildup of hurt and resentment," she says. "They've lost hope that this can ever be overcome, hence they've given up on wanting to be together and think they'll be better off apart."


We asked Tozer her advice on what to consider before taking the step to divorce, and how to work out if it is the right option for you. According to Tozer, there are seven questions you should ask before calling in the lawyers.

1. How will divorce make our individual lives better?

When considering a divorce, Tozer says that imagining how this may make your life healthier, happier and more harmonious is a good exercise to start with.

"If you can see a life free from fighting, free to find affection from another partner, free to live how you want, and go where you want", then divorce might be the best outcome for your wellbeing.

2. How will divorce make our individual lives worse?

On the other hand, it's important to consider how divorce may adversely affect your life. As we know, the concept of divorce is one thing, but the nitty gritty of it all can be incredibly painful — it's essential to think about how this might not be the best way forward for you and your family.

3. Is our relationship totally irreparable?

This question may seem like an obvious one but Tozer says that putting the 'D word' on the table can often be a knee-jerk reaction to a heightened emotional situation. She suggests taking a step back and having a conversation about how both parties can be "fully committed to repairing" the relationship before taking the steps towards divorce.

Watch: Ben Affleck on his divorce from Jennifer Garner. Story continues below.

Video via Mamamia.

4. Are we open to receiving professional marriage help?

Seeking an outside perspective and counsel when it comes to challenging marital relationships is always a healthy way to approach these situations — but often not all parties are on board. Tozer says this is a big commitment and one that should be fully explored before heading towards divorce. Finding the right couples counsellor or therapist is essential.

"Not just one couples therapist who wasn't helpful, not just one couples coach who couldn't manage the attachment breakdown and resentment tension built up over years," she says. "Ask yourselves, 'Have we explored every option?'" 

So how do you go about finding the right fit, if you do want to try seeking help from an expert? "It's crucial to find out how many couples a therapist has helped, and how many of those did well, didn't divorce," says Tozer. "If they can't tell you that, keep searching.'"

5. How will we co-operate in the future? 

If you find yourself in a marriage where you share children, resources or assets, it's highly likely you'll be in each other's lives for a very long time. Divorce doesn't mean splitting for good — in fact, it marks the end of your relationship and for many, the beginning of navigating a new path. Tozer says couples need to ask themselves how they plan to share responsibilities and co-operate harmoniously in the future.

"Where children of any age are involved, you must be prepared to be in each other's life for the rest of your life. Birthdays, Christmas, weddings and other life celebrations will be forever popping up — how will you and your spouse co-operate for these occasions?"


6. How will we divide our resources?

Although times are changing (it's not uncommon to see spouses still holding on to their personal banking accounts rather than merging when they get together), married couples will often have a number of shared assets and resources.

If you're thinking about divorce, you need to consider how you might approach splitting these resources, advisees Tozer. Of course there will be times where professional or litigation services are required to manage these aspects, but chatting to your partner about how this may look — or if it's even something you want to do — is important to do before filing for divorce.

7. Are we committed to remaining amicable?

For the most part, divorce can be an incredibly painful situation. If you are indeed thinking that this is the best way forward, Tozer says it's essential to chat to your partner about how you can remain amicable for the sake of both your wellbeing and your family's.

"Ask yourself, 'How painful do we think divorce will be? Are we committed to remaining amicable during the distressing times?'" she suggests.

There's no perfect way to get a divorce (and it's important to note in relationships that have become abusive or harmful, safety is always the top priority). But for those where the love has simply gone, there is an approach that can honour and respect your former partner while you go through the thick of it.

If, at the end of that, you still want to get divorced, it might be time to seek counselling or begin mediation.

Whatever your future holds, know that there's a path forward that is right for you.

Feature Image: Canva.

Are you a parent or influencer of kids aged under 18 years? Take our survey for your chance to win one of four $50 gift vouchers!