5 Signs a Marriage Cannot be Saved

signs a marriage cannot be saved

By Katherine E. Miller, Divorce Attorney, Certified Mediator, Collaborative Divorce Professional

The beginning of a new year is a time for reflection, renewal, healing, and moving forward. But if you’re marriage is on the rocks, it may also be time to answer a pivotal question: Is your marriage worth saving in 2023 or are there signs a marriage cannot be saved?

What to consider before making a decision to work on the marriage or get divorced:

1. Your Personal Relationship.

In deciding whether it’s time to get divorced, here are some questions to consider:

Do you still have shared values and beliefs? Is there any type of abuse in the relationship—whether that’s financial, emotional, physical or substance abuse? Do you feel safe and comfortable sharing a home with this person? Do you communicate and disagree in a healthy way or is there a lot of bickering? Do you have shared goals for your children? Do you still respect and admire your spouse? Do you still like spending time together? Do you trust your spouse? Maybe you have tried counseling, and it felt mostly just frustrating and disappointing.


2. Financial Consequences.

The number one reason couples stay together is for financial reasons; either it’s “easier” to stay together, or one of the spouses doesn’t work or isn’t financially independent and has more fear about being single again versus staying in an unhappy marriage. Or, maybe the couple has a lot of debt, or can’t afford to live in two households. These are the cases of the people you hear say “We can’t afford to get divorced.”

When it comes to divorce, some of the most hotly contested issues during the process concern dividing your assets and your money. Consider the cost of living and the expenses you and your children will have. Will you need additional support from your partner temporarily or long-term? Will you need to look for a new job?

This is also a good time to sit down and take stock of your personal and marital assets. Marital assets are those that you and your spouse own jointly. These assets might include your marital home or other real property, bank accounts, stock portfolio, and other assets like your cars, art, and jewelry. Typically, you and your spouse will split your marital assets, with some room for negotiation.

Assets you brought into your marriage or inherited may not be marital assets. For example, if you inherited a home from your parents, that may not be a marital asset. But if you inherited the house ten years ago, you and your spouse maintained the home with your shared money, and it’s appreciated, the home’s appreciated value may be a marital asset.


3. Impact on the Children.

Along with financial issues, the other very sensitive and emotional topics during divorce involve child custody and visitation. It’s important to consider how divorce will impact your children and how you’d like to co-parent if you proceed with a divorce. Think about how you see a custody split for the future and consider whether you believe you and your partner will be on the same page.

How will divorce affect your ability to care for and support your child? Consider whether you want to keep your family home for then sake of the  children and whether that will be financially feasible. Will a divorce affect where your children go to school, planning for college, or their extracurricular activities? What kind of financial support will you need if the kids live primarily with you?

Signs a marriage cannot be saved

Here are some signs a marriage might not be able to be saved:


1. If one of the spouses has a substance abuse or mental health issue and refuses to acknowledge it and/or get help.
2. If one of the spouses is abusive: financially, emotionally, sexually or physically.
3. If someone is cheating and is not willing to end the relationship and/or go to counseling.
4. A lack of communication and/or breakdown in trust resulting in arguing and continual verbal confrontation.
5. If there is too much anger, resentment and a lack of respect.

Seek Legal Advice

Before you make any decisions, it’s a good idea to consult an experienced divorce attorney to find out about the different divorce processes and how they work, to give you an idea of the cost and time involved in a divorce, and to explain certain divorce laws in your state.  It’s also probably a good idea to have this consultation if you think your spouse might be considering divorce.

I would also recommend consultations with a therapist, divorce coach, and a mortgage banker (if you think you’d like to remain living in your home. The more information you have, the more empowered you will be to make the best decisions possible for yourself and your children, whether that means working on the marriage or getting divorced.

Katherine E. Miller, Founder, Miller Law Group

The Miller Law Group

Separation and divorce don’t have to be full of conflict and discord. At the Miller Law Group, we can guide you through in a better way. Our family attorneys and trained mediators help couples work through divorce, custody, and separation issues collaboratively and cordially. Find out how we can help you. Call us to schedule your consultation.

Like this article? Check out, “How to Deal with Anger and Rage During Divorce”



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