Divorce Lawyers Are Sharing What They Want People To Know Before Getting Married

·7 min read

I recently asked the divorce lawyers of the BuzzFeed Community to share their advice for engaged couples (or anyone who has plans to marry one day).

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Before reading the replies I got, I was pretty take-it-or-leave-it on the whole marriage thing.

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Now I'm leaning a little more toward the leave-it end of things...

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Here's what you should know before tying the knot, according to 12 divorce lawyers (and one soon to be divorcé):

1."Don’t rush into marriage and address your issues before getting married. How are you going to deal with money? How are you going to raise kids? What are your life goals? Love is great, but it can’t sustain a long marriage if you aren’t on the same page about how you're going to lead the rest of your life."

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2."'Don’t marry someone you wouldn't want to divorce.' I’ve seen so many couples become incredibly petty and decimate negotiations because they view the divorce as a settling of the score or a win/lose situation. This is especially bad when custody is involved."

"Basically, if someone has a vicious streak, don’t think you’ll be the exception when you’re on the other end of it." —Hutchirf

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3."If you have any regrets that are too big to forgive and forget, wait until you're ready to be married. My sister's a divorce lawyer, and she’s had many couples divorce after a short period of time because 'the two got into an argument right before and never resolved it.' People can hold grudges, which can ruin your relationship with someone when trying to forget. Either resolve it or don’t waste people's money and time."

Jane

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4."My mom is a family law paralegal. Sexting is cheating. And they will use the photos as evidence! Think about that the next time you send a dick pic to your mistress."

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5."The only word is 'prenup.' People act like prenups are some sort of foreboding omen about the future of the marriage, but the reality is that a prenup is like any form of insurance. Do you have car insurance because you secretly intend to cause an accident? No, you get it because you can’t control other drivers, and you want to protect yourself in case of an accident."

"You can’t control a future spouse either, you have NO CONTROL over whether they cheat on you, fall out of love, etc. Better to have a prenup and never need it, than need it and not have it." —audreyt49f6dd9c1

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6."Prenup, sure, but also just be aware of the laws of divorce in your state and what a divorce entails. They entail a lot and can drag in for years. Not knowing the spouse's income or having access to your finances can cause problems. Also just communication in general."

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7."A prenup that details personal property division, whether there will be any spousal maintenance, inheritances, joint accounts, and decisions about real property."

"Also, counseling before marriage. Most marriages break down due to communication or finances (or both). If you can get on the same page prior to entering the marriage, or at least determine how to approach resolving those issues, you will save yourself a lot of heartache and money down the line." —hannahn4bb853445

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8."New York divorce lawyer here. So many people in the comments saying 'prenup.' But prenups don’t make sense for everyone, especially not young couples who have no assets and no idea where their married lives will take them. Plus, a prenup isn’t going to stop a divorce."

"What strikes me most as a divorce lawyer is the number of times people come into my office and say, 'I always knew I’d end up here.' You wouldn’t believe how often people say it.

Breaking up is hard. Calling off a wedding is even harder. But getting divorced is AWFUL. If you have a feeling you’re going to get divorced before you’re even married, you probably will." —GDF987

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9."Prenup for sure. Even if you're young and don't have a lot of assets, set the ground rules and expectations from the start. Also, if you're okay with your partner staying home during the marriage, to do the daily parenting of children or otherwise, that may continue post-separation. So if you're financially supporting them during the marriage, there's a good chance you'll have to after it ends — especially if there are children."

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10."1. Don't pull the divorce card in every argument that you might have with your partner. Seriously, I can't stress this enough but if every time you fight one of you threatens to divorce, maybe you shouldn't even be married in the first place."

"2. With the above in mind, make sure you really wanna get married BEFORE you actually get married. Most divorces would be avoided if this step wasn't skipped.

3. Before having kids, make sure you're both on the same page about principles, values, and religion around which you wanna raise them." —a45972fd22

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11."Don’t be afraid to ask tough questions before committing yourself to someone for the rest of your life. It’s important to understand what you’re basic principles are, because you and they will evolve over time, and without a solid foundation, those changes may be fatal to the relationship. It may be hard to have these conversations, but the short-term hurt is better than suffering through a bad relationship and having your partner do the same."

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12."Having wildly different money habits/ideologies are at the root of so many of the divorces I handle... It can cause so much resentment and conflict. If you and your partner don't have similar financial habits and priorities, getting a good plan in place that both of you are committed to following before getting married could save you down the road."

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And finally, a quick word from someone on the other side of things:

13."I’m not a lawyer, but I’m currently going through a divorce from a 19-year marriage."

"1. Keep your finances separate.

2. Don’t quit your job to raise his kids from a previous marriage, then raise your own with no help.

3. No matter how much of a stand-up guy you believe he is, at some point he will screw you over. I’m a disabled veteran and can’t work due to a severe spinal injury. He told everyone he would always provide medical care for me so he could look like the good guy. Then he told his lawyer that he was fine ending my healthcare after three years, and also to put in an income amount for me so he could pay less in child support. Despite the fact that he knows I’m disabled and can’t work. Oh, and he also makes a quarter of a million per year.

TL/DR: Love stories are great and so romantic, but the reality is that all stories end."

DivaMom

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How do you feel about this advice? Let me know in the comments section below!