Lat post I talked about whether or not you need an attorney for your family law case. I asked some really tough questions that only you can answer before deciding whether or not to hire an attorney. Those questions involve you being realistic about your situation.
Facing reality is hard in a family law situation. Really, really, really hard sometimes. I often refer to it with my clients as the same as a death. It is the death of a marriage or a partnership where you intended to raise your kids together. This leads to a lot of emotions, just like when a loved one dies. Except you still have to deal with the other person. The emotions cover all the stages of grief from anger right up to acceptance. Getting to acceptance can take a long time. How long it takes is different for everyone. But whether or not you are there, the court case is going to happen on its schedule, not yours. So you have to be prepared.
Just like the death of a loved one, a dead marriage is dead. It is no more. It is not "resting." It is not "pining for the fjords." It is a dead parrot -- I mean marriage. Now that doesn't mean marriage counseling can't save a marriage. Or you can't reconcile. Those aren't dead marriages those, those are merely critical marriages that need intervention to be saved. A dead marriage is one where one person is not interested in saving the marriage anymore, he or she wants O.U.T.
Knowing that one person wants out of the marriage can be shown in various ways. Moving in with a significant other and saying "send me my stuff" is a fairly obvious one. If they have already moved on with someone else, they ain't coming back. They have moved on. They will not stand up at the final hearing and say "You know what, you fought so long and so hard to get me back, I realized I still love you. I'm moving back home." Nope, the real thing that happens if you continue to try to force the person to continue the relationship is the person hates you even more than they already do.
Another way to know the relationship is over is when they flat out tell you it is over. "When someone shows you who they really are, believe them," Maya Angelou. If someone says its over and you suggest counseling and they say no, go by yourself. Go to help you deal with the end of the relationship, not because you expect to find a way to get the person back. They showed you they don't want you, accept it.
There are less obvious signs, but if you look at your relationship realistically, you will recognize them for what they are.
What can you do once you realize the relationship is deader than a dead parrot? Protect yourself. Get an attorney to explain your rights to you. Don't believe everything the other person says about the division of property, custody, child support, alimony, etc. You might be married to them but they no longer have your best interest at heart. They are looking out for themselves. You need to look out for yourself and not rely on your partner to protect you anymore. Remember the partner wants O.U.T., not necessarily to be fair and reasonable.
Get counseling if you feel you need it to accept the situation. Lots of people don't want to get counseling because they feel it will be used against them -- especially regarding custody. It won't. Counseling does not equal crazy. Counseling is seeking assistance. And we should all do that when we need a little help. The courts get this.
What will not happen is the court ordering the person to stay married to you. Think about it, the person doesn't want you, is unhappy with you and wants to move on. Totally the court is going to ignore what that person wants and make them stay because that is what you want. In Maryland, once you are living separate and apart for one year, the divorce is pretty much happening. See above for what happens when you fight it. The sooner you accept the marriage is over, the easier it is on you mentally. If you keep fighting it, you only hurt yourself. The other person doesn't care anymore. Does being married give you rights? Sure -- to the stuff. Not to the marriage itself.
It takes 2 people to make a marriage work. If one doesn't want to work at it anymore, there is no marriage. Accept this fact, even if you need some time to deal with it emotionally. Protect yourself legally. But save yourself stress and heartache by facing reality.