Some Questions About Invisible Divorce
Is your marriage suffering from an invisible divorce? Couples can reach a point in their relationship where they have grown so far apart that, without being acknowledged, the marriage has failed. Rather than take proactive steps to resolve this in-between state, couples can go for years, trapped in a situation that no longer fulfills the basic expectations of a marriage. Change can be frightening – the challenges of the unknown can’t be measured or planned for. And when a negative or unknown scenario presents itself, we often freeze, unable to move from the status quo. But looking at your situation and asking some questions about invisible divorce are an important first step.
What are the signs of an invisible divorce?
Invisible divorce occurs when the couple no longer function as a couple. They organize their lives in such a way that they spend no time together, going so far as to sleep apart. Intimate relations are a distant memory, and emotional intimacy has disappeared as well. Communication has broken down, and the couple is effectively living separate lives. Sometimes it seems benign – hyper-focus on a hobby or solo binge-watching tv shows. Other times it will be activities that seem to come from external sources – working long hours, focusing on other family or friends. In worst case situations, one spouse is consumed by a problem like substance abuse. The end result is a lack of connection between two people who are meant to function as a team.
What are the risks of an invisible divorce?
Other than the human toll it takes on the couple, there are some serious risks in an invisible divorce. Whether the state of the relationship is a symptom or a cause, when there are power imbalances in the relationship, they are often exacerbated as a result of tenuous ties rather than close bonds. The spouse with greater power will adjust the relationship to suit her or his needs, leaving the other person with an increasingly narrow existence, frequently suffering some element of economic or other abuse. Infidelity is a common problem in an invisible divorce. Also, financial improprieties often occur – such as where one spouse moves money to limit the other spouse’s access to the marital estate. Even without improprieties, spending years in the limbo of an invisible divorce may cause circumstances to change such that an actual divorce results in a greater financial impact like having to pay more in spousal support. If there are children in the marriage, the invisible divorce leaves them with a split household – be it silent and cold or filled with acrimony. Either way, they suffer.
What can be done about an invisible divorce?
One thing is certain, an invisible divorce leaves the parties dissatisfied with the situation. However, fear and anxiety can leave you frozen, unable to assess let alone alter the existing circumstances. Change will be necessary to move the relationship to another, better place. Address the risk factors by seeing an attorney and assessing your finances and making sure that there are no improprieties happening. Start to set aside money for self-care and make copies of essential documents. Address the emotional factor by seeking therapy – preferably with a counselor who has experience in marital relationships. This can be done as a couple, but individual therapy is critically important to assessing whether your needs are being met in the relationship.
Contrary to a common fear, a simple attorney consultation does not automatically lead to an actual divorce or separation if that isn’t right for you. What it can do is help you assess your rights and understand the realities of the circumstances. In an abusive situation, one spouse may be claiming that the other one has no options – that he or she will be without support, or will lose custody or some other horrible outcome that makes divorce seem impossible. A family law attorney can clear up these misstatements. A good family law practitioner will be able to provide solid advice about proactive steps to take that can either save the marriage or line up the necessary elements to a reach fair and equitable divorce.
People do become paralyzed with fear; they do fear change; they fear the unknown. Let Reese Law help you get educated. Do you think you might be in an invisible divorce and want to know more about your options? Contact us to set up a consultation.
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