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How you can tell a divorce is coming

If a divorce is in your cards, the last thing you want to do is be taken by surprise. While the unhappiness in a marriage is rarely one-sided, a lot of marriages coast along in a relatively stable state for a very long time -- until one spouse decides to finally make a move.

Here's how you can tell that divorce is probably inevitable (so that you can get prepared):

  • You know you wouldn't be there if you didn't have kids. The desire to not disrupt your children's lives can outweigh your desire to get out of a bad marriage for a long time -- but probably not forever.
  • Your spouse is an untreated addict or mentally ill. Alcohol, drugs and mental illness can make it impossible for someone to be an equal partner in a relationship -- let alone a loving spouse or involved parent. If your spouse isn't at least seeking help, you may eventually have to get a divorce.
  • You're living different lives. If you eat by yourself, go to bed by yourself, entertain yourself, go out by yourself and keep different friends, you're already basically living apart in all but name.
  • There's no intimacy. If there's a medical reason for the lack of intimacy, this might not mean anything. Absent something like that, however, the lack of intimacy is a sure sign that your spouse has already emotionally moved on.
  • There's no respect. If your spouse's attitude and words to you are generally disdainful, mocking or dismissive, the odds are high that your marriage is over. (That's also true if you can't listen to your spouse speak without rolling your eyes.) Mutual respect is essential in any marriage.

If you suspect that your spouse already has one foot out the door, find out what legal options you have during a divorce and how to protect your interests.

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