Should you wait to get divorced? Is there going to be some advantage to postponing things, waiting for one of the kids to be out of school, waiting for the end of the year? There are always reasons to wait, wait until after someone’s birthday, or the next holiday, of course there are holidays just about every month of the year. All too often the reasons to wait are really just excuses, and become a plan to avoid the inevitable.

This reminded me of something that happened to me at my house recently, my daughter had this inflatable swan floaty. It’s good but it was getting older and it sprung a leak and then we tried to patch it. But then it got water in it and it was done for. So no more swan, and then I stuck it someplace behind the garage. I didn’t deflate it and package it up and put it out for the trash or the recycling, I just kind of stuck it behind the garage. I was kind of on the fence with what to do about it, and then I just let it sit there. A month later I go back and of course it’s a mess, it’s dirty and it’s been rained on, there’s bugs, and it’s just awful. It’s just gross at that point, and now I still have to deflate it and pack it up and put it out for the trash/recycling. I neglected it, didn’t take care of it, didn’t do anything in the meantime to make it better and then of course it was worse. That’s what this reminds me of, this question of “should wait until after school is out? Should I wait until summer? Wait until winter? Wait until…

There are always reasons to wait, because divorce is a big decision, it’s not something you want to rush into of course, but waiting to file or postponing it and thinking you’ll do something about it later is never a good plan. Now, if you’re going to postpone it because you’re trying to go to counseling or you’re going to do some things to work on it or do some things to prepare that’s one thing. But if it’s kind of like the inflatable swan, if your marriage has become this old, sad, half-inflated thing that you know you’re going to need to get rid of, then putting it off and neglecting it, just makes it worse. It’s not going to help.

It’s the same idea with divorce and deciding to divorce. How do you know when it’s the right time? You need to get advice about it, and you move forward putting it off for a few months or a year or however long doesn’t really do anything for you, the problem typically just gets worse, making things more of an issue than it was when you first considered doing it. Keep in mind what goes hand in hand with that advice is there are advantages to filing first, so there’d be no reason to wait, and now you’re just giving your wife the opportunity to get something filed before you do, so that can be a factor as well with waiting and putting something off that there was really no reason to put off.

You certainly don’t want to rush into it if you’re not sure whether you need to get divorced or not, that’s certainly something you need to consider. But if the idea is to put it off for six months, do nothing for those six months, don’t work on it at all, not go to counseling, and not do any of those things then really you’ve just wasted time and probably made things worse. Something that you’re considering doing that you postpone and don’t do anything to further making it better are not going to really pay off, and can usually end up being a lot worse.