When Is It Time to File for Divorce?

Knowing whether or not to file for a divorce can be tricky.  If you love your spouse but acknowledge that you have problems, then you be faced with the unfortunate decision of whether you should stay and work on things or if you should get a divorce.  There are a lot of things that go on that can affect how you file for divorce.

Dilemmas for Divorce

Is It The Right Thing

You might feel like you want a divorce, but could really be struggling with whether or not it is the right thing to do.  Going through a divorce not only impacts your life, but also the lives of your children so it is not something that you should take lightly.  Plus your entire life is likely going to change including how you live, the money that you make, and the pressure that you feel from those on the outside.

My Spouse Wants a Divorce

If you are in a situation where you would like to work on your marriage and your spouse is at the point that they want a divorce, it can be tricky.  It is likely that you are going to feel completely out of control.  Remember that if you want to work on things, you are going to have to confront the problems and issues that you have head on.

Anger Towards a Spouse

Sometimes people feel so angry with the way that their spouse has behaved in the marriage that they feel that they are left without any choices other than divorce.  These feelings can be toxic and can leave you angry and bitter over time.  If this is the situation that you are, talk to your spouse about things that you could do to change their perception and make things better for you.

Separation Periods

If you make the decision that you would like to be divorced, there are actually some states that require you to have a separation period first.  Some states do not require this.  Below is the information that you need on separation periods for each state.

No Separation Period (except with special circumstances)

The following states have no separation period:  Alaska, Arizona (covenant weddings are treated differently), Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio (as long as it is mutual, if not mutual it takes 1 year), Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

Various Lengths of Separation

Alabama requires 1 month of separation before a divorce.  Massachusetts requires 1 month if it is mutual or 7 months if it is not mutual.  Iowa and Washington require 3 months.  Pennsylvania requires 3 months if it is mutual and 2 years if it is not.  Utah requires 3 months but has no separation requirement if it is mutual.  South Carolina requires 1 year.  West Virginia requires 1 year if it is not mutual but does not have a requirement if it is mutual.  Arkansas requires 18 months. Maryland requires a full 2 years unless the spouses are mutually in agreement in which case it requires just 1 year.

Six Month Separation Period

The following states require 6 months separation:  California (from the filing date), District of Columbia, Illinois (with mutual consent, without consent by both spouses it is 2 years),  Missouri, Montana, and New Jersey (with mutual consent, if it is not mutual then the separation period is 18 months).

During Your Separation

If you are trying to get a divorce, make sure that you file your separation papers if there is a separation period.   During this time it is important to watch how you handle yourself.  Refrain from partying and dating so that you can go to court without additional issues and concerns.  If you are behaving in a manner that seems irrational to a judge then they are more likely to side with your ex rather than siding with you.


In conclusion, if you evaluate your options and decide that getting a divorce is the right thing to do, educate yourself on how to get a healthy divorce and always remember to keep your children’s best interest at heart. Also, keep in mind that if there are children involved, your Ex will always be the other parent and you must learn how to co-parent.

To speak to a National Family Solutions representative about a family legal matter, please click on the button below

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply