Divorces don’t begin when you file paperwork with the court. They don’t even begin when you make your first visit to a lawyer. They don’t begin when move out. They don’t begin when you start making a separate budget for yourself. No. Divorces begin in the heart.
Heart, Mind and Action Stages of Divorce
If the thought of a divorce becomes a daily habit and the idea of remaining together is more painful than the prospect of being apart, then the divorce process has likely started.
There are three distinct stages in a divorce. The Heart Stage, The Mind Stage, and the Action Stage. Intervention such as marriage counseling at any of these stages may prevent the divorce from happening, but as people move from one stage to the next it is increasingly unlikely that anything can be done to prevent the divorce from happening.
The Heart Stage
When you married, you believed that your spouse was the one (non-related) person in the world who care the most about you, who would put you above all others including themselves. If that belief is betrayed, then you will naturally experience great pain at the loss of the hope you had that this is the someone who will be with you forever. When that faith permanently dies, then you are experiencing the Heart stage of Divorce.
In my experience the Heart Stage of Divorce can take place long before the Mind or Action Stage of Divorce- perhaps years or even decades. If a marriage has any chance of being saved then it’s best chance is before the Heart Stage is finished.
The Mind Stage
The Mind Stage of Divorce is when you begin to mentally imagine yourself separated from your spouse and you begin to actually make plans to make it happen. You begin to think about what life will be like and how you will make that happen. This is when you begin to make a mental inventory of things you would want from the house. You will also be thinking about how custody arrangements would work. You may even begin to start searching around for housing. When you seriously start to think about how to make the divorce happen, and what steps you will have to take to make a divorce happen, that is when more than half of the decision is made. It’s is similar to when potential buyers of a house begin to imagine how their furniture will fit into the new house. Experienced realtors know that the sale is nearly made at that point. It is at this stage of divorce that many people seek out the advice of a divorce attorney. They may not be ready to file yet, but they are gathering information they need to make the divorce happened.
If there is no intervention after this stage, it is very hard to keep the divorce from not happening.
The Action Stage
This is the final stage of divorce. This is when action is taken on the plans developed previously. This is when one spouse moves out, or a spouse empties the bank account or when the spouse hires an attorney. At this stage of the divorce it is very unlikely, though not entirely impossible, that the divorce can be prevented. This is because other institutional factors begin to reinforce the decision to divorce. This includes contractual obligations that have been made such as signing a lease, or signing a service contract with a lawyer, or paying filing fees for divorce. These forces anchor the decision and make it harder for it to become more fluid and possible to be reversed. If the divorce is to be stopped at this stage, it would take massive intervention and counseling - which does not normally occur.
There is no one definitive point when a divorce starts, but there are distinct stages that couples go through as they approach the final divorce. As they go through each stage then the reality of a divorce becomes more certain.
If you need more information about this topic, please call 832-819-3529 and we will be happy to speak with you about this, or any other issue related to divorce in Texas.
Attorney Sean Y. Palmer has over 18 years of legal experience as a Texas Attorney and over 24 years as a Qualified Mediator in civil, family and CPS cases. Palmer practices exclusively in the area Family Law and handles Divorce, Child Custody, Child Support, Adoptions, and other Family Law Litigation cases. He represents clients throughout the greater Houston Galveston area, including: Clear Lake, NASA, Webster, Friendswood, Seabrook, League City, Galveston, Texas City, Dickinson, La Porte, La Marque, Clear Lake Shores, Bacliff, Kemah, Pasadena, Baytown, Deer Park, Harris County, and Galveston County, Texas.