What is an “invisible divorce”?
What Is an Invisible Divorce?
If you and your spouse have grown apart for some time, it’s possible that you’re currently going through an invisible divorce. In 2020, over 630,000 people obtained a divorce. While it’s possible to save a marriage once it shifts to an invisible divorce, doing so can be difficult because of the emotional detachment that commonly occurs.
What Does an Invisible Divorce Entail?
An invisible divorce is one where spouses don’t act like a couple and organize their lives in a manner that involves them spending very little time together.
The main indication that a couple is going through an invisible divorce is that they are no longer sharing physical or emotional intimacy in the same manner as they did in the active stages of their relationship. The lives of these couples can resemble the ones between roommates or co-workers.
While people who go through an invisible divorce likely still love their spouses, the bond that was there at the beginning of the marriage no longer exists. During an invisible marriage, it’s common for only one party to be aware that there are issues in the marriage that haven’t been resolved.
How Does an Invisible Divorce Begin?
The initial stage of an invisible divorce involves both spouses pulling away from one another emotionally. While this first step is a small one, it can quickly lead to an emotional distance that’s difficult to reconcile.
The responsibilities of life may be all that a couple speaks about when going through an invisible divorce. If both spouses are busy and they mainly talk about what to make for dinner or who will pick the kids up from school, there’s a good chance that the couple is going through – or heading for – an invisible divorce.
Along with a busy schedule, an invisible divorce can also be brought about because of some form of neglect or pain that has developed during the marriage. Eventually, the emotional detachment may continue to grow until both spouses believe that their needs aren’t currently being met. It’s possible that one or both spouses will feel that the other doesn’t care about them.
At this stage of the process, it’s common for spouses to look to other things that will meet their needs, which can be anything from finding hobbies outside of the home to spending more time at work. When each spouse starts to find ways to fulfill their needs without involving the other, the emotional gap between them will grow even more.
It’s Difficult for Other People to Notice Anything Wrong
There are times when a couple is emotionally detached without their support system and community knowing that there are any problems between the two. When a couple is going through an invisible divorce, they still tend to maintain their everyday routine, which makes it seem to others like the marriage is fine.
However, inside the relationship, the marriage may be all but over. When a spouse eventually files for a divorce, their friends and family will likely be shocked because of the belief that everything was normal.
Why Couples May Stay Together During an Invisible Divorce
When a couple is in an invisible divorce and maintains the situation for an extended period of time without communicating about it, the healthy bonds that were previously present in the relationship can dissipate completely. Once these bonds are gone, the love likely will be as well. The marriage may continue because of a lack of money or the belief that remaining together is the best option for their children.
Once children move out of the house, it’s common for some parents to finally agree to a divorce. The same is true if one spouse obtains a promotion and begins to earn enough money to support themselves. The divorce can then occur quickly since there’s nothing left to keep the couple together.
Primary Signs of an Invisible Divorce
There are many signs that indicate you and your spouse are going through an invisible divorce. If the two of you function just like a business where the main topics of discussion are children and finances, this is one such indication.
When the marriage begins to break down, one or both spouses may have an affair to make sure that their needs are met. The marriage can also resemble a type of parallel play that toddlers take part in. This scenario occurs when children who are in the same room end up playing near each other but not directly with each other.
Even if the marriage outwardly appears to be healthy, you and your spouse may perform nearly all functions separately. If several or all of these factors are present, you may still decide to remain together and keep up appearances with your friends and family members. Some additional signs of an invisible divorce include:
- Refusing to communicate
- Excessive shopping, working out, or other compulsive behavior
- Sleeping on the couch
- Substance abuse
Another clear sign that you’re in the midst of an invisible divorce is that you’re not happy. Even though couples in an invisible divorce don’t fight or argue much, the lack of communication and passion is a sign that one or both parties are no longer capable of finding joy in the relationship.
Seeking an Official Divorce After an Invisible One
When such spouses are unable to reconcile, they often file for a divorce with the assistance of their respective divorce attorneys.
A contested divorce occurs when two spouses are unable to agree on divorce terms, which can result in the process continuing with litigation. When marital issues are left unresolved, it’s up to a judge to make a decision on how property and assets should be divided. New Jersey is an equitable distribution state, which means that assets aren’t necessarily divided evenly but in a manner that is fair to both parties. Judges will typically make decisions on such issues as:
- Division of assets
- Child custody
- Child support
New Jersey is also a no-fault state, which means that spouses don’t need to mention the cause of the divorce if the relationship has been breaking down due to irreconcilable differences for at least six months. However, a fault divorce can still be sought. If you’re thinking about filing for a divorce, a New Jersey divorce attorney answer any questions that you have.
An uncontested divorce occurs when spouses cite “no-fault” in the divorce filing. When this occurs, neither spouse wants to state that the other is responsible for the dissolution of the marriage. All marital issues will need to be agreed on in a settlement between both parties.
Couples usually try to avoid litigated divorces. However, there may still be disagreements in certain areas that need to be resolved. Mediation is a potential solution to this issue. The mediation process occurs outside the courtroom and is designed to help spouses negotiate with one another about marital issues before eventually coming to an agreement.
All meetings that occur during mediation are overseen by a neutral third party. This individual doesn’t make decisions for both parties but will instead guide them to their own decisions. The conversations that occur in mediation can cover any issue about the divorce terms. Once agreements have been made on all remaining problems, the mediator will provide the court with a signed document with the details.
When you notice signs of an invisible divorce in your New Jersey marriage, there are several options available to you. If you’d like to file for a divorce or explore your legal options, call our Hackensack divorce attorney today at (201) 343-0078 for more information. You can also request an appointment by filling out and submitting our contact form.