Reconciliation is fancy word the divorce lawyers use for a couple choosing to do the often difficult work to try to make their marriage work. The lawyers of the Gitlin Law Firm support reconciliations where appropriate. Just like deciding to get divorced, a divorce lawyer cannot advise you whether reconciliation is appropriate for you, but can let you know the possible risks associated with attempted reconciliations.
Once a party hires a lawyer is it too late to reconcile?
No. But it takes a willingness by each spouse to do the work necessary to try to reconcile. If either spouse is adamant about wanting a divorce, there is little that can ultimately be done to prevent it because Illinois is a pure no-fault state.
While there is little a lawyer can do to bring about a reconciliation, the lawyer should not stand in the way of a reconciliation, and often can recommend good marital counselors.
Do you advise the party who wants to preserve the marriage that a trial separation may help bring the couple together?
Not usually. Marital problems may be resolved through face-to-face communications and with marital counseling. If there is a separation, usually face-to-face communications are limited. Some marriage counselors and therapists may recommend a “trial separation.” One website defined this as:
A trial separation agreement is often a flexible, informal agreement between a husband and wife who have hopes of repairing their marriage and rebuilding their relationship. It’s a stepping back period and a time to figure out if repair of their marriage is even possible.
Part of the reason that the statistics about trial separations reflect that they generally do not work may be because one spouse is not honest and actually is using the trial separation as a means to start what is actually a divorce process.
Once divorce proceedings have started is it too late for counseling?
No. If your spouse does not agree to counseling, you should have counseling for yourself because there are things you may be able to do—on your own—that might help to ultimately reconcile your marriage (again if your spouse ultimately shows a willingness to do the work). Because divorce is one of the most stressful times in a person’s life, you will be able to go through the divorce process with less emotional pain if you are in counseling. The Gitlin Law Firm recommends counseling to all of its clients.
Do I need professional counseling to effect a reconciliation?
My answer is—yes. At the root of many marital problems is the inability to communicate. Counseling or therapy helps facilitate communications and can teach you to communicate with each other. Couples invest in a great many items during their marriage. Investing in marital counseling can reap rewards — in situations where both spouses have a genuine interest in trying to make the marriage “work.”
If we decide to try to reconcile, do I need to dismiss the divorce proceedings?
Not necessarily right away. It really depends on the status of your case and whether the county where your case is pending has what is called a “reconciliation calendar.” Generally, you may put the divorce proceedings on hold, but not indefinitely. The judge will probably want to dispose of the case, one way or another, within about six months.
We are attempting to reconcile. Other than counseling, are there other good resources?
Besides counseling, good resources include Marriage on the Mend: Healing Your Relationship After Crisis, Separation, or Divorce Paperback – March 27, 2015.