What better way is there to spend my time as a newly-wed than talking about divorce? During the months leading up to my nuptials, my husband and I enrolled in a pre-marital counseling course. The course included eight couples to one counselor and a broad discussion on how to build and maintain a successful marriage. In sum, we were taught that there are three pillars of marriage: intimacy, commitment and passion. Each pillar was a lesson in the course and at the end of each lesson, we reviewed behaviors of married couples that were likely to bring down that respective pillar and trigger a divorce. In other words, Aif you do not want to end up divorced like these people, do not adopt these [email protected] Message received.
Now that I have tied the knot, I find myself reflecting on the concepts learned from pre-marital counseling. Are the most common reasons why people seek a dissolution of their unions consistent with the three pillars of marriage? My experience as a family law attorney coupled with a quick Google search seem to point to yes.
O.C.G.A. ‘ 19-5-3(13), or Airreconcilable [email protected], is the standard ground for divorce. It is the no-fault, catchall reason for divorce when a spouse isn=t a habitual drinker, serial adulterer or perpetrator of domestic violence. Irreconcilable differences happen when the pillars of marriage weaken over time, so the answer to my question above likely lies within this ground for divorce. I find that my clients= stories of their no-fault marital woes often include statements that they no longer share the same interests with their spouse (commitment), there is no longer an emotional or physical connection (intimacy), or they just don=t communicate as well as they used to (passion).
The results of various divorce studies appear to echo the sentiments of my clients. Many participants cited the usual culprits, infidelity or financial troubles, but an overwhelming majority cited lack of commitment as the source of the demise of their marriage. A lack of commitment tends to happen where a series of events–such as a shift in career, having a child, taking on a new interest, or a family tragedy–collectively reshape the identities of the spouses over time. Sometimes those new identities do not mesh as well as the former ones and the couple needs to put in the work to reconcile their relationship. These conflicting identities may also cause the commitment pillar to come crashing down, pushing married couples beyond the point of no return and straight into my office for a divorce consultation.
Whether you are on the fence about your marriage or beyond the point of no return, it is a great idea to consult with a family law and divorce attorney. We are here to help you assess your options.