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No couple ever expects to get a divorce, but sometimes things just don’t work out. While separating from your partner is often a painful, drawn-out process, breaking free from an unstable marriage can be a great relief.

It is an incredibly difficult decision to make, and you want to ensure that you are making the right choice. Some couples get divorced and end up back together again, which may seem like a happy ending, but it can create confusion and uncertainty for the children. If you are considering getting a divorce, or even a separation agreement, how can you be sure it is the right thing to do? You have your children to think about, the struggles of finding a new house, and the awkwardness of dividing possessions and sharing friends.

If you’re going through this dilemma, there are a few questions you should ask yourself to help you decide whether splitting up is the best course of action.

Is there hope to improve the relationship?

A marriage takes two people. In almost all cases, both parties are responsible for the problems that lead to divorce. You may think you have tried everything to keep the relationship together but take a close look at the steps you have taken and whether your differences are really irreconcilable. Have you considered marriage counseling? Or even taking some time apart? If you’re sure that this is the right decision then by all means proceed, but if there is any doubt in your mind, you will want to explore all your options before taking the leap.

Have you communicated your feelings with your spouse?

Communication is the foundation of any successful marriage. If there are problems in your relationship, you need to talk about these with your partner if there is any hope of things improving. If you spring the topic of divorce on your partner without warning, this could lead to a lot of negative feelings and emotional outbursts. But by simply addressing these problems, you may find a way towards a solution.

Are you prepared for life after divorce?

What will your life look like after you have split from your partner? Perhaps you will be worse off financially, and you may have to take on an extra job to make up for the lack of income. Or maybe you will lose contact with friends who are closer to your partner. Think about the connotations when it comes to sharing childcare, and the possibility of introducing step-parents into a child’s life. Of course, no one is saying you should stay in an unhappy marriage, but consider whether it would be better to work on your relationship than deal with the fallout of divorce.

How will it affect your children?

Although divorce isn’t pleasant for anyone, it can completely turn a child’s life upside down. They can lose all sense of stability and even find their trust in their parents faltering. Your children’s wellbeing should be first and foremost, and there is no shame in staying together for the kids if that is what you have mutually decided as a couple.

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