Can I reconcile before my divorce is final
I don’t know about other divorce attorneys conduct business inside their offices, however, I can tell you that the vast majority of people who come and sit down with me for a divorce consultation are going to be asked if they have attempted marriage counseling and if they would be willing to attempt it before moving forward with their divorce.
A Divorce Attorney Who Sends Clients to Marriage Counseling?
One of my good friends has described me as “a walking contradiction” because I am a divorce attorney who attempts to convince his clients not to follow through with the divorce and to go to marriage counseling instead. Whenever I hear this I always laugh politely and am a good sport about the joke, but inside I feel like my friend is the one missing a very big point.
Almost every lawyer at one point in their life had a vision of going to law school so they could make the world a better place. Unfortunately, a few years in private practice has a way of beating that goal out of most attorneys. The only difference with me is that I held onto that idealistic goal and try to incorporate it in my divorce and family law practice every day.
The Odds of Reconciliation Are Much Better Than You Think
While researching for this article I read that some estimates say 10% of divorced couples end up remarried later down the road. Personally, I love that statistic and think it is a shame that those 10 % of divorced couples had to go through the long, expensive, and painful process of divorce to begin with.
The truth is that in many cases the odds of reconciliation are far better than most people allow themselves to think. The biggest barrier to most people having the ability to save their marriage is their own inability to acknowledge the role that they played in marital problems.
The sad part is that with a little bit of marriage counseling and some small tweaks to a person’s outlook on marriage the divorce rate in our country could be substantially minimized. This is because some of the most common causes for divorce can be addressed very easily such as disagreements on finances, disagreements about raising children, porn addiction, alcoholism, and others.
I sat down recently with Elizabeth Havens a licensed marriage and family therapist in Orlando, FL to discuss some of the patterns that she sees in her practice. Elizabeth informed me that one very common cause of marital disruption that she sees is where one spouse has a porn addiction.
“In a marriage, there is a certain connection that the relationship needs to stay healthy and if somebody can just reach into their pocket and pull out a smartphone and get that connection quickly and easily then that takes the connection away from their spouse.” Upon hearing this I was struck at just how much of an enemy to marriage Internet porn has become.
Want to Avoid A Trip to The Divorce Lawyer’s Office? Then Assume Some Responsibility
During my conversation with Mrs. Havens, I learned that one of the first steps that couples must take in successful marriage counseling is to be committed enough to the process to acknowledge the role that they have played in hurting their marriage.
Don’t go to marriage counseling in the hopes that the counselor is going to tell your spouse how wrong and bad they are and tell you how correct and mistreated you have been. If this is your expectation, then you may be in for a disappointment. This is because of the critical importance of each person in the relationship taking responsibility for the poor health of the marriage.
I think it is important to note that you do not have to be at the point to acknowledge your responsibility before you enter marriage counseling. A good counselor can help you get to that point, but you have to take the first step.
As a divorce attorney, I have met many individuals before they began the divorce process, walked with them through the process, and stayed in close contact with them after the process. I can tell you from experience that most people who decide to get divorced have absolutely no idea what sort of emotional, physical, and financial toll that process really includes.
Many people feel as though if they just cut it clean, they will meet someone else and everything will be sunshine and rainbows. The problem is that most people carry their same emotional baggage straight into the new relationship and are doomed to repeat the cycle all over again.
The question I posed to many of my clients is why not try to fix the marriage that you have now instead of risking having to start this whole process over again with somebody else later down the road.
Elizabeth Havens is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in Orlando, FL and can be reached at havenscounseling.com
Sean Smallwood is an Orlando divorce attorney for the law firm Sean Smallwood, Orlando Divorce & Family Law P.A. where he represents clients in all areas of family law and divorce. 100% of the practice is devoted to family law. As an attorney in Orlando, he has helped many families with a wide variety of family law cases including Divorce, Child Custody, Child Support, and many other issues.