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.
While there is little a lawyer can do to bring about a reconciliation, the lawyer should not stand in the way of a reconciliation.
Do you advise the party who wants to preserve the marriage that a trial separation may help bring the couple together?
No. Marital problems may be resolved through face to face communications and usually 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. Maybe it works for the marriage counselors, but if it works, it is because they see the case at a much earlier stage than I do as a lawyer.
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, which 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. Gunnar Gitlin 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.”
Do marriages sometimes stay together strictly for financial reasons?
Yes – and often with good reason. H. Joseph Gitlin recalled the case of a man who counted his farm holdings in sections, rather than acres. He was sure his wife would agree to a divorce if he carved out about five acres for her, built a house for her and the children which was substantially larger than the present house, and substantially increased her household budget by child support and maintenance payments. The problem was that all the farms were marital property. The wife rejected the husband’s offer. He decided he could not afford a divorce and stayed married.
There are also cases where a wife, who because of children, or for other reasons, cannot generate a sufficient employment income, so she will not be able to adequately provide for herself and the children in the event of a divorce. These wives sometimes decide to stay married.
If we decide to try to reconcile do I need to dismiss the divorce proceedings?
No. 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.