5 Relationship Insights We've Learned as Divorce Lawyers

For every client we've helped through a messy breakup, we've had the privilege of hearing their story. We've listened, analyzed, and agonized with them (and sometimes on our own time, too) and have learned a few tips that we all might want to consider before saying "I do."

The communication issues you had in marriage don't magically go away when you separate

If you've got kids to co-parent and disagree about something, post-separation counseling is often far more effective than battling it out in court. You may have separate lives now, but you still have to deal with each other, and let's face it: conflict is just not fun. By now, you've learned you aren't going to change the other person, but it doesn't mean you can't find common ground and learn tools to overcome differing parenting styles.

Think prenup before a second marriage

Cynical? Maybe. But broaching the topic begins a conversation you may never have had in your first marriage. It may force you to talk about issues such as whether it's expected that one or both parties will work, whether savings will be considered "joint," and whether either party is bringing debt into the relationship.

Other issues to consider: Will assets be acquired jointly? Will assets that have already been acquired continue to be separate property?

Compatibility is key for long-term relationships, and let's face it – money management can be a fire starter. Understanding your partner's financial goals (or lack thereof) is a helpful component of a relationship.

Silence is (not) golden

Our clients often admit to having been terrible communicators in their relationships. We had one client say that he couldn't remember the last time his wife asked about his day. He took it personally and felt shut out. Be a good conversation partner, thought partner, and laughter partner. It just may strengthen your bond.

Issues of your soul matter

One of the biggest breakdowns in the relationships we see is a fundamental difference in moral values. Common beliefs bind people together and keep priorities (like family and money) aligned. It feels good to be part of a team working toward a common goal. Apparently, core values don't waiver, and when our clients have felt "compelled" to change, they've ended up resentful and lonely.

Don't take your spouse for granted

Your spouse is not perfect, and neither are you. That's okay. We've seen couples reconcile mid-way through a divorce, and the relationships that seem to last (after such a difficult ordeal) are the ones where each person truly had respect and admiration for the other. Once these couples realized that they could lose their partner, they became committed to the hard work of saving the relationship. Why? Because they know that it's worth it. Life without the other just wouldn't be as sweet.