Wow! This seems like a strange topic coming from a Family Law Attorney who has practiced law for over 25 years and who has handled hundreds of Family Law Cases. including Divorce which in Florida is known as Dissolution of Marriage. However, who would be in a better position to have seen so many of the causes of Divorce.
Not getting married, although one option, is not the answer either because the impecunious “significant other” in the “living together” arrangement misses out on many of the protections otherwise afforded them under Chapter 61 of the Florida Statutes had they been married. They get no alimony, spousal support, or Equitable Distribution rights.
So starting with the assumption of being married, which I am actually a strong proponent of, how do you avoid divorce after you are married? Obviously, this is a huge topic which hundreds of books if not more have been written, seminars given and counseling sought. All of those are good and are certainly part of the answer. The Attorneys at The Marks Law Firm, P.A. regularly encourage reconciliation in the right circumstances when done correctly and safely. We have a list of excellent Christian Counselors and others we can refer our clients to.
So you are married-what now?
But how do you avoid getting to the point of having to walk into a Divorce Lawyer’s office in the first place? The following is certainly not an exhaustive list and so should be considered instructive and a good starting place. Let’s begin with the assumption that you have taken the time to really get to know your potential spouse by building on a solid friendship and not just a lot of emotion and feelings that will fade over time. Let’s also assume that you have common goals and beliefs going into the marriage as a foundation. Now let’s assume you are married and facing a myriad of stressors and temptations around you at work, in social settings and from your past.
Danger-danger: the Internet?
Let’s work our way backwards here starting with your past and working our way forward. I have come to see the Internet and Social Networks, like Facebook, as the most significant current threat to marriages. How’s that? Well of course it starts at home. If you are not connecting and spending time growing together with your spouse, they may seek out affirmation in a former relationship from college, high school or other setting, like work. I can’t tell you how many Divorces I’ve seen where one of the spouses felt neglected and sought out affirmation or simply a connection from someone in their past. For some reason former high school sweethearts end up being the most frequent choice I see. Maybe it is about reliving our past and glorifying how wonderful a former relationship was when we are in the midst of bills, kids, jobs and all the other real life stressors.
It is easy to fall into this trap when you are feeling unappreciated, under stress and alone. I can tell you the grass is not greener on the other side of the hill. All the statistics bear this out. If about 50% of first marriages end in divorce, the percentage of failed marriages increases with each subsequent remarriage, i.e. 2nd, 3rd and 4th marriages until about 90% of 4th marriages fail. And yes, I see those too.
So what’s the Answer?
So stay connected, spend time with each other, grow in the same direction together, develop or enhance your shared beliefs and remember and reaffirm your wedding vows regularly in deed and in word. I am out of space here and so will have to get to the next major observation from my practice to help you avoid divorce. You may be asking why someone who handles divorces and whose Firm handles exclusively Family Law related matters from Adoption, Alimony, Custody, Enforcement, Modifications, Paternity, Domestic Violence Injunctions to Divorce, would write a blog to help people avoid having to see a Divorce Lawyer?
I’ve always said I want to be able to come home at night and look my Wife and Kids in the eye and say I helped someone today. I want to act with integrity and my own personal beliefs based on sound principals to do what is right and to help people in any way I can. Whether you have to walk into my office for help or whether I can help you avoid the trauma of Divorce or maybe at least help the Parties avoid damaging their kids by lowering conflict and seeking what is in the best interest of the minor children.