You have two kids. One is a senior in high school. The other is in eighth grade.
For three years now, you have felt terribly unhappy in your marriage. You and your spouse barely speak. You sleep in different rooms. You feel like two tenants simply renting the same house.
Over the last year, it’s only gotten worse. Your spouse insults you and digs at you emotionally all the time. So far, there has not been any physical abuse. If there were, you’d leave instantly. But it has become clear that neither of you wants this relationship to continue.
So, do you ask for a divorce now? Or should you wait until your kids are both out of school? The senior is so close, after all. Can you put up with four more years after that for your second child to head off to college?
Protecting the children
Do not feel alone in asking this question. It’s very common. Parents want to protect their children. They have done that since the kids were born. They know divorce can take a toll on kids, and they assume that waiting until they’re out of the house will make things easier.
Kids notice divorce at any age
The first thing you should know is that college is not some great insulator that makes it so divorce goes unnoticed. The kids still feel it. They notice it most over the summer and the holidays, but it still impacts them all the time. Is your senior really going to be far less vulnerable to it a year from now?
Is your house a home?
Another question to ask is just how much your current marriage impacts your children’s home life. You feel unhappy all the time. You deal with depression. You worry about future physical abuse. You and your spouse fight in front of the kids. If these things do not change, do you really want to keep your children in that environment?
No time is perfect
Can you ever find the ideal time to split up? What if you wait until high school ends, but then you feel like you should wait for college to end, as well? Your kids still live at home over the summer, after all, and you want that to continue.
Then, one of your children gets married. Surely you do not want to get divorced right before or after the marriage, so you put it off. Then your other child gets married, and you do it again. Later a grandchild is born, so it doesn’t feel like the right time.
What is right for you?
Every situation is different. Perhaps you want to try marriage counseling to see if you can make it work. Maybe you know nothing can save this marriage. Maybe you really worry about abuse, and you want to get out. You have to choose for yourself, but hopefully, this helps you see what points to consider as you look into your legal options.