New Years is right around the corner. Traditionally, many couples get engaged
on New Year’s Eve. Being an attorney in the field of family law
for more than thirty-five years, I expect that some of the New Year’s
engagements will end in divorce—which is sad and unfortunate. There
has to be a better way to ensure that all of the love and affection shown
on New Year’s lasts a lifetime.
In fact, there are several issues I see as a common thread that lead to
divorce. Here are four tips to help you divorce-proof your relationship
from the very outset, so that the shine of that new engagement ring doesn’t
blind you to some of the very basics of a long and successful marriage.
Discuss Finances: Before getting married, couples often discuss where they are going to
live, children, careers, and what side of the bed to sleep on…
but rarely money. Some people have anxiety, guilt, or even shame about
the way they handle money. Do you really want to tell a potential spouse
that you’re an over spender? Not exactly the topic of discussion
you want to have before you walk down the aisle. Have an open and honest
conversation with your future spouse about your finances and know your
“marriage money style.” Will you share information about income
and assets? “No” is often a red flag.
Be Aware of Abusive Qualities: Abuse comes in more forms than just physical. Things like name-calling,
playing the blame game, emotional manipulation, and attacks on your character
and abilities are all signs of emotional abuse. Of course, if your future
spouse actually physically abuses you then that is an immediate sign that
it is time to exit. Violence never solves anything and you don’t
deserve any kind of physical abuse. It usually gets worse as time goes by.
Get a Prenuptial Agreement: Not just for the rich and famous, a prenuptial agreement forces you to
have in-depth conversations about uncomfortable but important marital
issues with your future spouse. Money matters, what religion you plan
to raise your children in, family business ownership, and planning for
inheritance are just several crucial topics that are brought to the forefront
when discussing a prenuptial agreement. Speak now or forever hold your
peace. Having a professional design your prenuptial agreement is very
important. I have reviewed some prenuptial agreements that have not always
been fair to both parties. Choose a prenuptial expert! It matters!
See a Therapist: This person should be an objective, non-partisan third party concerned
for the emotional well-being of you and your future spouse as a couple.
A therapist is someone who will talk you and/or your soon-to-be spouse
through the logistics of making decisions and compromises where there
are no losers, and help you navigate the peaks and valleys of being in
a healthy marriage. Personality disorders are a big warning sign. Do not
Within the scope of a relationship, respectful communication is key —
be honest with yourself and your future spouse. Communication helps ensure
that you don’t marry the wrong person and that you stay married
to the right person. If you have any other questions about marital relationships,
or crafting a prenuptial agreement please call me at 212.734.1551. I’m
offering free consultations through the month of January!
May you all have a very Happy, Healthy New Year!