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Divorce Lawyers Give Dating Advice: Should You Talk About Divorce Before Getting Married?
Divorce Lawyers Give Dating Advice: Given that the United States processes approximately 2,000 divorces every day, attorneys specializing in family law have seen just about every scenario in which a marriage could end. When you do what I did and inquire as to some of the divorce attorney’s most notable cases, you will hear tales that will make you want to uninstall all dating apps from your phone.
After getting married, a woman discovered that her new husband was a hoarder because she hadn’t seen his house beforehand. One couple decided to freeze embryos in anticipation of getting married later, but the husband ended up leaving his wife for another woman just before she turned 40, at which point he demanded that any remaining embryos be destroyed.
Or there was the mother who slept in a coffin because she was certain she was a vampire and her ex-husband had to seek emergency custody. Another woman ran her soon-to-be-ex-spouse over with her car, sending him to the hospital for two days; when questioned about her actions, she said only that she hated him.
Divorce is something most individuals would rather avoid even if leaving a terrible marriage is a good thing (just ask Nicole Kidman). It’s not cheap; one Forbes article puts the typical cost at $15,000–20,000, though actual amounts can often exceed that.
As seen by the elevated blood pressure seen in a recent study of divorcees, the process is emotionally and physically draining. People’s worst selves may be revealed. It’s logical that those whose profession it is to watch relationships fizzle out would advise others to avoid doing the same.
Despite this, love continues to thrive. The marriage and remarriage rates continue to rise (even among the 58% of Americans who have been divorced). Risks are still seen as worthwhile by many people.
As a disclaimer, this is not legal advice and it is not a promise of a fairytale ending because people are messy. However, it could prove to be a helpful framework for avoiding such disagreements in the future.
Take The Time To Learn About Your Date
You’ve taken the first step by swiping right, buying the attractive stranger a drink, or agreeing to a friend’s setup. It seems like there could be something between the two of you after a date or two. So what happens next?
Myres and Associates in Houston are owned by Susan Myres, who has been practicing for 40 years. “Here are some questions you should ask, but my suggestion does not be to ask them all at once otherwise, they may think you are a stalker,” she advised. You want to know about the greatest and worst and funniest times spent with the family. If you must inquire about humiliating experiences, name the worst job you’ve ever held.
Myres said that there is no “wrong” response to these inquiries; rather, the responses will serve as a window into the person’s personality and interests, in addition to being a source of pleasant conversation. Do they act secretively or cautiously when disclosing information? How do they discuss their relatives? These aren’t deal-breakers, but you might want to ask more about them.
There is value in hearing an opposing viewpoint. Do you know people who have known this person for a long time, or do you have the chance to meet such people? Myres advised looking for “someone who can tell you humorous anecdotes or eccentricities” to determine whether or not the individual “hurts animals” or “was a crazy nerd as a youngster.”
Just as importantly, be truthful about who you are. Myres shared a tale of a female acquaintance of hers who had success using the Farmers Only dating app. When the woman, who was not a farmer, finally met her app match in person, she discovered she had an allergy to horses and cows.
A divorce was requested by one of Myres’s customers after she learned that her husband had been married before. It was then revealed that this man had been indicted for murder and had other missing spouses.
The moral? (“It was not the late Mr. [Robert] Durst,” Myres assured me.) Don’t be shy about asking your tech-savvy pals to help you Google your new significant other.
Communicate A Lot
Angela Princewill, a lawyer in Toronto who has been in practice for eight years and who founded her own firm, AP Lawyers, says, “It’s crucial to start with the appropriate foundation.” Things that seem little at first glance may become major problems along the road.
Start early if you want to be heard. Don’t take it lying down; do they constantly interrupt you or talk over you? Could they not go an hour with you without checking their phone? Do they appear to be listening to you with genuine interest? “I get asked all the time, ‘What do you think is the leading cause of divorce?’
Lindsey Houk, a family lawyer with 11 years of experience at Waple and Houk in Charlotte, North Carolina, emphasized the need for “communication.” Misunderstandings about money or one another can both lead to adultery, but the underlying cause is always the same.
It’s challenging, especially in the age of texting and social media, but what’s the point if they never show any interest or initiate serious conversation? Warning sign.”
One of Princewill’s clients, he said, had sent flowers and jewelry to an ex in an attempt to reconcile. From the perspective of the opposite side, it was only irritating. The lack of quality family time as a unit was their number one concern.
Their spouse made assumptions about what they wanted without ever asking them, which was hurtful. Princewill once remarked, “There are times when I wish I could be a fly on the wall at the beginning of a relationship so that perhaps we might avoid some of the conversations we have to have after it’s too late.”
Listen closely to how they talk about their former relationships. Cary J. Mogerman, a partner at Carmody MacDonald and president of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, has been in practice for 37 years.
“I think some people come from a bad divorce with a need for an audience or an ally,” he said. Mogerman advised listening to one’s gut and quoting Maya Angelou: “When people show you who they are, believe them.”
Unless it’s completely superficial or harmless, “I would be reluctant to overlook any behavior that you perceive as an anathema to your own philosophy of living,” Mogerman said. The question “Why does this bother me in the first place?” needs to be asked. ’”
Try Not To Avoid Talking About Money
A significant commitment isn’t necessary for two people to start dating; sometimes you only want a one-night stand, a summer fling, or an annual agreement to sleep together on the same day.
It’s okay if your chats don’t go much deeper than what to eat in those situations. But if you plan to eventually get married, move in together, and start a family, you should be ready for some serious discussions about money.
Divorce rates are highest for couples with lower incomes, although money problems are a major reason for separation and divorce across all income brackets. The time spent talking about these things now can prevent a lot of trouble later on.
“We know in the early phases it’s all about love and everyone’s excited, but after all that settles, you get into the boring day-to-day living,” Princewill said.
Where do your views on money fit in, if at all? Nothing here needs to be a deal breaker, but you will need to discuss and develop some ground rules if one of you is an adventure seeker and the other just wants to save and be economical.
In order to move past difficulties, “it’s about trying to understand where the other is coming from and setting limitations,” as Princewill put it. The rule could be, “Let’s save $x, but have enough left over for exploring.”
“Nobody likes to be ripped off,” said Harriet Newman Cohen, a founding partner of Cohen Stine Kapoor (whose former clients include Laurence Fishburne and Eve Chilton, Harvey Weinstein’s first wife). Back in 1974, Cohen received his law degree. She was a second-year law student when her husband of 21 years (and the father of her four children) abandoned the family. She handled her own divorce case, representing herself.
“Back in the day,” she said, “there was the breadwinner and there was the homemaker, and the man could keep all financial information to himself. Most modern couples value open communication.
To what extent does your partner’s income affect your own? If one of you makes much more money than the other, does it make sense to split all household expenses evenly?
According to Cohen, “the romantic partnership is now transitioning into a professional relationship.” A successful negotiation has the potential to change perspectives. The novelty has worn off, and you must decide whether or not to proceed.
Family lawyer in Toronto Justin Lee has over 224,000 TikTok followers because of his helpful videos. The turbulent world of marriage and divorce was something Lee felt people would be curious to learn about, and he wasn’t wrong, he said in an email.
In two videos that went viral, he talked about how important it is to value the contributions that partners make to a partnership through things like cooking and caring for children. A lot of stay-at-home moms and dads who follow my videos tell me how much they appreciate hearing that their work is appreciated.
It’s possible that your partner won’t be able to make a major monetary contribution, but Mogerman says that doesn’t mean they won’t be great at helping you out in other ways, like with the kids or at work.
(Having children and how to raise them are other vital topics to address with a potential spouse before tying the knot.) “But no one wants to get into a relationship and find out there’s dead weight on the other side. They need to be driven by their own goals and passions.
Maintain The Relationship
Many of these attorneys have developed their own perspectives on relationships via working with clients whose marriages are failing.
“One of the things about the area that I’m in is that you often witness such severe dysfunction in ways that are so intricate and profoundly rooted,” said Mogerman, who has been married for the whole 37 years he has been practicing law. When you see that every day, it truly makes you forget about all the tiny things that annoy you.
Myres, whose marriage has lasted more than three decades, agreed. Worrying over minor issues is futile. This is mostly about minor details And I should never, ever make a statement on the spur of the moment.
It will come back to haunt you for a long time, especially if you are ever cross-examined in a divorce dispute. Remember how you yelled, “Ew!” in the delivery room? ’? “Think before you speak; use caution at all times.”
Houk is a single, cautious optimist who has never been married. Despite the fact that “I’m definitely not swearing off [marriage] because as soon as you say ‘never,’ here we go,” she continued, “it’s definitely one of those things where I’d want every I dotted and t crossed.” She shares similar sentiments on behalf of her nearest and dearest, and frequently gives prenuptial agreements as wedding presents.
“There are days when all I can say is ‘Ugh, love sucks. Who needs it? On the other hand, there are days when I’d want to believe that working in this industry hasn’t destroyed any potential for future romance, despite all the lawsuits, laws, and foot stomping. It seems like an impossible peak to reach.
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