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Five realities couples must face before filing a divorce

It is usually said that half of all marriages in the United States result in divorce. However, before couples in Washington decide to divorce, they should at least try to determine if they really need a divorce or not.

First, the couple may want to determine if they have done everything possible to save their marriage. "Everything" does not just mean a sincere dialogue between the spouses. It might also mean getting sound advice from friends and family, books, a marriage counselor and even taking time to speak with a clergy member. The end of a marriage is a life-changing situation; the spouses should take that decision very seriously.

Second, the couple should ask themselves if they are at peace with the decision. Emotions can cloud judgment, and that is a common situation when a couple contemplates divorce. However, when they finally let go and are no longer frightened, angry, confused, hurt or in love with the other spouse, it is time to end the marriage.

Third, they must face the inevitability of telling the children about the divorce. Children are not meant to handle adult issues; they should be allowed to be children. However, although the parents must tell them about the new arrangement that will be a part of their lives, parents also need to help them cope and understand.

Fourth, it is very important to think about co-parenting the children. The marriage may end but they will always be parents to their children. The best way for children to cope is to see their parents as a united front. This, of course, means that divorced parents will have to interact with each other regularly. Finally, couples in Washington who are contemplating divorce should face the reality that there is a legal aspect involved in the divorce. It can get complicated, so couples may need legal guidance to help sort out matters.

Source: The Huffington Post, "5 Questions You Need To Ask Before you Decide To Divorce," Dr. Phillip McGraw, Oct. 24, 2014

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