It is surprising to me the number of people who file for divorce without having first attempted marriage counseling. In those cases where the marriage is particularly short and there are no children it is understandable, but when a marriage has lasted a decade or longer or the spouses are still raising children then marriage counseling is usually at least worth trying.
I have never advised a client to get divorced, as I feel that this is a very personal decision and one that ultimately the client is the only one qualified to make. The choice is theirs and theirs alone. There are a number of reasons people decide to get divorced. A short list includes extramarital affairs, a lack of shared interests, lack of communication and generally growing apart. When both spouses are motivated to do so many of these issues can be addressed and ultimately resolved with the assistance of an experienced marriage counselor.
The decision to divorce should never be taken lightly and should never be made immediately after an argument. You have to consider the impact of divorce not only on yourself, but if you have children, the impact on them as well. Factors include not only emotional issues, but also practical considerations such as finances, where you will live, et cetera.
Of course what I’m describing is the typical situation. A very different set of criteria comes into play when there are instances of physical or sexual abuse. With these kinds of situations you must act immediately and take appropriate action, including immediately contacting an attorney.
But when the more typical situation exists – that is, two spouses who just don’t see eye to eye on some or several issues, then a marriage counselor can be of great assistance in helping the parties to communicate more effectively and possibly resolve the problem areas. If after working on these for an appropriate amount of time you and your spouse both decide that divorce is the only solution then you can move forward with the property division, conservatorship and visitation, child support, and other issues that will be addressed in a divorce case. But at that point you will know you have tried everything you can to fix the situation without divorcing.
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