Updated: 3 hours ago
Some signs of divorce are obvious and predictable, like the sign pictured above. You find telling photos, texts, voice messages on your spouse's phone, PDA or computer. Maybe your spouse is paying much more attention to their personal appearance or has been to the plastic surgeon. Inexplicably, your husband buys the convertible or the sailboat that he has always wanted. All of these are indeed storm clouds that cause people to take heed.
But one of the most telling signs that a divorce may be in the offing is not one that you would even think about, unless you are a divorce attorney or have been through your own divorce. Be very wary when your spouse says, "that it is time for you to go back to work."
I cannot tell you how many times in my divorce practice when the stay-at-home spouse, frequently the wife, mentions to me that her husband has been constantly telling her that it is "time to get a job." Often, a number of different rationales are offered by this spousal employment counsellor. "We could really use the extra money"; or "it would be good for your self-esteem"; or "the children are in school all day or old enough to take care of themselves"; or "we could use your salary to buy the things we always wanted or take that European vacation."
Indeed, some of these professed reasons may be very true and innocent but they may also signal a hidden agenda or motivation. Why? Because the spouse urging "re-employment" may have already decided to initiate a divorce and wants to ensure that he does not have to pay alimony and/or wants his unsuspecting wife to contribute to any child support awards. And how does he know that? Most likely, because he has already seen a divorce attorney in a consultation and received advice about how to limit his obligations or financial exposure to his soon-to-be jettisoned spouse.
As I have discovered in my divorce practice, the people who came to my office for a consultation fell into two broad categories. One was comprised of the people who knew they wanted a divorce and often said "it had been coming for years." They were there to gather information so that they could construct a detailed divorce plan one which minimized their financial obligations, before announcing their intentions to their spouse. The other group was made up of people who professed that they had little to no idea that a divorce was in the offing, said "they were shocked and blindsided," and claimed that the divorce "came out of nowhere."
In reality, the divorce announcement probably did not come "out of the blue" but rather the unsuspecting spouse had failed to read or recognize the clues that a divorce was just ahead. Sometimes, a conversation about downsizing ("this house is too big and too costly") or reducing spending (I just reduced our credit card limit) or re-employment (putting aside the misogynistic nature of the concept itself- i.e., the stay-at-home spouse doesn't actually work) has no hidden agenda. Still, when a spouse repeatedly hears one or more of these expressions it may be time to say how do I protect myself from a divorce that may be on the horizon?
One of the best ways to prepare yourself for a divorce, wanted or unwanted, is to read my recently released and critically acclaimed book, "An Elephant Doesn't Marry A Giraffe - Everything I Learned As A Divorce Attorney", available in hardcover, paperback and eBooks on Amazon , Barnes & Noble and Draft2Digital .
In this easy to read, compelling book you will find other invaluable tips, strategies and advice such as when to consult with a divorce attorney, how to select the best attorney for your case, how to minimize the costs of divorce, financially and emotionally, and how to avoid the critical errors that undermine your case. Reading this book now may be the most important thing you can do for yourself and your children.