Divorce lawyers do not see happy marriages in their professional lives. They might see happy couples about to be married when asked to prepare prenuptial agreements, but mostly we see what tears couples and families apart. Whether marriages are short or long, and if the couple has children or not, there are some common themes among divorcing couples that I have seen in my almost 17 years of exclusively practicing family law. Note that I am not a counselor or therapist; these are my own views as a divorce lawyer and also do not constitute legal advice.
Having open and honest communication with one’s partner comes easier for some than for others. I tend to see people (or who complain about their spouses) who either forgot how to effectively communicate with their spouse or lack the willingness to do so for both mundane and also important conversations. Talking past each other and not listening to what the other is saying tends to widen the chasm between couples. If they are meeting with me to obtain information, but have not decided to separate, then I frequently recommend that couples attend counseling together with a qualified couples’ therapist to see if they can work together on their issues, especially those experiencing communication breakdowns. Avoid shutting down when having a conversation with your spouse, actively listen without being dismissive, and give your spouse the opportunity to explain their thoughts and feelings.
Arguments about money are very common among divorcing couples. Who earns it, who spends it, how it is spent and how it is saved can bring about a myriad of feelings, including resentment. Moreover, it is not uncommon for couples to keep accounts and financial information private from the other, which can lead the unknowing spouse to experience fear and anxiety. If you are concerned about how separating and divorcing impacts your financial situation, consult with an experienced family law attorney versus doing your own research online or listening to what a friend or family member may tell you. Free advice is not always the best advice. You may not understand all of the issues, or you may receive bad advice or that which is not tailored to your specific situation.
Substance Use / Abuse
Another common theme among divorcing couples is substance use / abuse. Perhaps early in a relationship a partner’s use of alcohol or drugs was acceptable, but in time it became a problem. Addiction is a serious issue and presents a safety issue for everyone in the family. Consider whether you actually do have an issue, consider obtaining an assessment from a qualified professional, and consult with an experienced family law attorney if you believe you may be heading toward separating and divorcing as substance use / abuse issues may be highly relevant in legal proceedings.
Lack of Common Interests
The common interests a couple shares brings them together more. Oftentimes, interests change and couples do not make the effort to spend quality time together doing what they enjoy. This may lead to one or both of them finding others to enjoy these activities. Think about your interests and those of your spouse and children and whether you enjoy them too, or whether you are willing to participate in them because you know they bring your loved ones joy.
If you or someone you know may have a situation where any of the above-mentioned situations are involved, contact Hatcher Law Group for a consultation with an experienced family law attorney to understanding your rights and options moving forward.