Divorce can be a very painful and expensive process for everyone involved, and often the best solutions come before the time that people are looking for divorce lawyers, and in fact, often before the marriage itself. Everyone knows the statistics in regards to divorce, but always seem to think that it is something that only happens to other people, not themselves. The reality is that divorce is much more pervasive than people expect, and it is important to lay the proper foundation in your relationship to make sure that divorce is never on the table.
Before you and your partner say “I do,” the State of Texas encourages couples to attend a free premarital education course. One of the benefits of attending a premarital education course is that the 72-hour waiting period that is typically mandatory between the marriage ceremony and the actually issuing of the marriage license is waived. Additionally, couples who take the premarital counseling course receive the additional benefit of having a portion of their the marriage license fee waived.
Communication skills, conflict management, and the key components of a successful marriage are all common topics facing new couples, and not so coincidentally are also common topics for couples facing a looming divorce. Such key topics are covered in detail through the course and can be vital tools in preventing a marriage from going down the path of divorce. Part of my job description as an attorney also includes the role of “counselor”, and that is one that I take seriously. Unfortunately, by the time I am involved in someone’s life, they are usually past the point of no return in regards to divorce, and there are limited options at that point. However, I encourage everyone who is considering marriage to not make that decision rashly, and to enter into it with the sufficient amount of rational thought such a serious legal contract requires.
There are tons of resources out there, both in terms of classes, as well as community resources geared at helping families enter into a strong marriage and avoiding divorce. Please take advantage of them if you can, and don’t enter into marriage with the idea that it will fix issues in your relationship, as I have almost never known that to be the case. Make sure to have a plan and common goals with your partner, as well as some established mechanisms of resolving conflicts between yourselves, otherwise by the time you realize that the problems that existed prior to marriage didn’t magically fix themselves after the license was issued, it may be too late and you may end up in my office asking questions about the financial repercussions of divorce or how it may play out in regards to any custody situation that exists.