For most individuals, the decision to leave their marriage is not an easy, quick decision. Instead, it is something carefully considered over a long period of time.
If you have been contemplating a divorce or separation, and have not done so already, see a marriage counselor. My clients often ask for referrals to marriage counselors, but as I unfortunately see people when their marriage has failed, I am not the best resource for a referral to a good counselor. The best source is your married friends. Although your friends may seem to have wonderful marriages from the outside, many marriages have faced adversity and couples have sought marital counseling as a result. Ask your married friends whether they have ever seen a marriage counselor, and who they would recommend.
If you are fearful your relationship is headed to divorce or separation, or your spouse is insistent they want a divorce or separation, then you should also consult with an experienced matrimonial attorney. Consulting with an attorney does not mean you have decided you want a divorce; it just allows you to be informed of what you are facing should you or your spouse make that decision. An experienced family law attorney can answer your questions as to what to expect regarding property and debt division, child custody, child and spousal support, whether you should move out of the marital residence, whether you can make your spouse leave if you wish, and expected fees related to the process. Many attorneys will allow you a personalizedconsultation so you know what you are facing if your marriage deteriorates.
An attorney cannot make a decision for you about whether or not to leave your marriage; that is a personal decision to be made by you and your spouse. Unless you or your children are in physical danger as a result of your marriage, an attorney should never tell you that you must leave your spouse.
For a list of suggested questions to ask yourself before deciding upon a divorce, see this helpful article.