Deciding that you want a divorce is a huge personal step, not a decision that should be made lightly or in the heat of the moment. Even if you have gone through extreme emotional hurt before making this decision, often people need a little time, self-reflection, and perhaps one more go at making it work before the decision is final. This is why separation is often suggested as a way to ‘test out’ what being divorced would feel like so you have time to process and make the right decision.
But what if separation happens naturally, like a long business trip, and you find that you never want it to end?
When Absence Does Not Make the Heart Grow Fonder
Deciding to divorce while a spouse is absent from the home is not an unusual experience. When life circumstances separate you from your spouse for a few days, weeks, or months, the natural separation experience happens. Many who have been suffering through their marriage and are suddenly alone in the house may realize that they feel free and happy, that they don’t cry themselves to sleep missing their spouse, and that divorce would be the ideal path to secure this freedom permanently. But should you really make up your mind while your spouse is absent? Should you get the ball rolling while you have momentum or should you wait for them to come back and talk things over?
This article will help you make the right decision for you.
Why You Really Want a Divorce
Divorces aren’t just based on feeling good while your spouse is gone. Many marriages survive and thrive when spouses take vacations from time to time. So the question is not whether you feel good right now, it’s why you really want a divorce.
If you and your spouse have grown apart and uncomfortable with each other and “trying to make it work” hasn’t worked, then all the usual rules about decorum and consideration still apply. This is something you want to talk out. Give them another chance to really try now that divorce is on your mind. Or, perhaps, a tradition of vacations away from each other will make things work in the long-run.
However, if you want a divorce for more profound reasons like cheating, cruel behavior, or abuse and control in the relationship, then you may feel less inclined to be considerate or to give them another chance. In some situations, this may be your best opportunity to start the process of divorce before a controlling spouse returns and can stop you from reaching out to others for help in leaving them.
So ask yourself whether there is still consideration between you and your spouse, and why you are really thinking seriously about divorce during their absence.
Consulting With a Divorce Lawyer Before They Return
One thing you can do without crossing the bounds of consideration is to simply get yourself informed. Many spouses who are considering divorce seek personal and legal guidance before making the decision or even bringing the subject up with their partner. Now, while you have plenty of time to yourself, is a good time to explore your options based on the specific details of your marriage, finances, and potential custody arrangements.
If your goal is to broach the subject of divorce without attacking or starting a fight, consulting with a divorce lawyer during your spouse’s absence can be a good way to do that.
Moving Your Spouse Out Before They Return to Begin Trial Separation
It’s not uncommon to feel the very strong urge to pack up all your spouse’s things and move them into a new apartment or rental house while they are gone. This is particularly common in marriages where there has been cheating and betrayal, or if you have a strong reason to suspect your spouse is breaking your marriage covenants while they are away on this extended trip.
While moving your spouse out is an aggressive move, it can also be your best chance to make your decision known without their interference or ability to sabotage their own move-out. Moving your spouse out is far more reasonable if you have already discussed divorce and they have been acting as a roadblock without trying to make the marriage work.
This may be your best chance to find and secure them an apartment, separate all your things, and get them set up so that a clingy or manipulative spouse cannot claim that you are “putting them out on the street” when you request separation.
Escaping an Abusive Marriage in the Abuser’s Absence
Finally, there are the very special considerations for those who have been trapped in an abusive and controlling relationship who have suddenly tasted freedom. If your spouse has been keeping you from filing a much-desired divorce through violence, financial control, or extreme manipulation then it may be reasonable to seek a speedy divorce proceeding and take extra steps to either separate them from your life or extricate yourself from theirs.
You may want to be the one who moves out. You may want to consult with a divorce lawyer about drafting a fair agreement early so that you have a strong basis to stand on. If necessary, you may want to seek protection from law enforcement or battered spouse services if you fear that your hard push toward divorce will put you in physical danger.
Most importantly, do whatever is necessary to keep yourself safe. A divorce lawyer may still be the answer, but only after you have put several barriers and distance between yourself and the abusive spouse who is currently absent. Talk to your divorce attorney about how they have handled abusive divorces in the past.
If you are considering initiating a divorce while your spouse is away on a long trip, there are several routes you can take. Your decision should be based on your current relationship, whether you have discussed divorce in the past, and your own safety. For a consultation on your options and to discuss the possible paths ahead, please contact us today. We would be happy to listen to your situation and offer the best advice for proceeding or broaching the topic of divorce with your spouse when they return.