Divorce should be a last resort
You owe it to yourself, your spouse & your children to try to save your marriage before seeking a divorce in Nassau County or Suffolk County
As a Divorce Attorney on Long Island I meet with countless individuals considering their options about divorce who are not yet ready to take that step. They are in my office because they feel their marriage is falling apart and they want to know what will happen in the event of a divorce. I am more than happy to answer their questions, however, I immediately ask, “Have you told your spouse how you feel?” Some say yes and some say no.
Now, I am no marriage counselor, however, I view my role as an advocate and advisor. It is not my place to convince anyone that they need to seek a divorce. That decision belongs to the individuals involved, not me. So, when I am faced with this scenario, here is some of the armchair advice that I give:
1. Marriage Counseling: Most marriages have their ups and downs. Honestly, I see a lot of couples throwing in the towel without even considering counseling. It is always worth considering, especially if there are children involved. So long as there is no domestic violence involved, I think the couple owes it to themselves and their children to give counseling a chance before seeking a divorce. I have worked with many couples who started a divorce proceeding, and at some point decided to give counseling a chance, and because of counseling, saved their marriages. I have even received cards from those individuals thanking me for not pushing a divorce and supporting their decision to try to work it out. I am not saying that counseling is the magic pill that will save every marriage; however, if haven’t tried, how will you know? So, before ending your marriage, make sure you have no regrets.
2. Romantic Gestures: A client recently told me that her spouse was unhappy because he didn’t feel loved. She told me, “He has some nerve. When was the last time he told me that I was pretty. I can’t remember the last time he took me on a date.” I immediately thought to myself, marriage is a two-way street; you each have to put in the effort. I recently saw a post on social media that marriage isn’t 50-50, it’s each spouse giving 100 percent of themselves to their spouse. All too often I see that couples get comfortable with each other and take their spouse for granted. So, if your marriage is going through a rocky period, try to spice things up. Plan a date. Don’t tell your spouse the itinerary, keep him or her guessing. Go away for a night, a weekend, a week. Go out to dinner at a new restaurant. Do anything that isn’t your normal routine. Buy her flowers. Get him a new tie, shirt, etc. But stop complaining that your spouse doesn’t treat you the way that he or she used to if you’re not putting in the effort either.
3. A Trial Separation: OK, you went to counseling. You did the romantic thing. Your marriage still seems to be falling apart. Before committing to something as final as a divorce, you can give separation a try. I don’t mean a legal separation, I mean a physical separation. Try staying apart for some time. The couple can sign a letter agreement wherein they acknowledge that they are giving physical separation a try and that no one is abandoning the other and that neither party is giving up any legal rights to property or the children. The couple should also include who will pay what bills during this time in the letter. Some time apart may clarify the relationship for the couple. Maybe you will miss your spouse. Maybe you won’t. Maybe you will realize you can’t live without him or her. Or, you may realize you are better off apart. Either way, you will know that you pursued every avenue to see if your marriage will work before throwing in the towel.
So, if you are considering a divorce, ask yourself “have I done everything I can to work on my marriage?”. Maybe your marriage can’t be saved, or, isn’t worth saving; that decision lies with you. However, if you are meeting with a divorce lawyer to get information about divorce just in case, maybe your time is better spent coming up with a plan to save your marriage.
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