Things to consider before you ask for a divorce

Misbah Akhtar

For those who ponder why so many people file for divorce, the answer is that the so-called seven-year itch (sometimes called the four-year itch) may be rooted in a mixture of biology and psychology. The theory is that in order to form a bond that lasts long enough to keep both parents working together as a team throughout a child’s infancy (about 4-7 years), the brain releases the ‘bond’ hormone oxytocin for roughly this period. After the brain stops releasing this hormone, your partner’s mannerisms that were previously ‘cute’ or ‘adorable’ start to seem irritating and unnecessary. We’re not talking obvious annoyances, like asking yourself how long does someone need in the shower? Or how can someone always manage to fall asleep ten minutes into a film? Or why do people text and drive? We’re talking more along the lines of how they live their lives, such as being bad with money or making nonsensical career choices. When not supported by oxytocin, turning a blind eye becomes harder and harder … eventually, something’s got to give.

Here are some things to consider before asking for a divorce. 


Money is one of the most talked-about factors in divorce settlements. Often, couples become accustomed to a certain combined income, and it’s important to realise the impact that divorce can have on lifestyle. This isn’t to say that people should stay in un-loving relationships, but thought should be given to the underlying issues before making a decision that has far-reaching implications over finances. For example, redundancy from work or issues with friends could bleed over into relationship troubles. But with mediation, there may not be a need to file for divorce where matters can be understood and tackled directly. 

Your assets

There is a reason that people go through messy divorces. That reason usually comes down to assets (sometimes disagreement over custody of children can become a sticking point, too). Your ‘assets’ make up all of your possessions. Aside from property and vehicles, this could also include things like furniture, collectables, and even home improvements and home extensions. Where there is a conflict over ownership of assets (and where a division of assets is not possible – such as with home extensions), a couple may realise that their lives are so intertwined for good reasons – working on a relationship that can be saved is ‘worth a shot’ in comparison to a difficult break up that involves assets which are nigh-on impossible to divide or share. 

As a last tip, be aware that sometimes divorce is the only option. At this stage, financial records become invaluable in splitting assets – make sure you keep your own copies.

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