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 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. A lawyer can advise of pros and cons given your unique situation.
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 required to reconcile. When one spouse adamantly wants a divorce, little can be done to prevent that. Since 2016, Illinois has been 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. A lawyer can also 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. Separations limit face-to-face communications. 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.
Statistics show that trial separations rarely work. My experience has been that a spouse who wants a divorce often brings up the issue of a trial separation as a stepping stone. The spouse who wants a trial separation may be fearful of being honest and may be trying to break in the news of a divorce gradually.
Once divorce proceedings have started is it too late for counseling?
No. If your spouse agrees to counseling, start with some limited counseling for yourself. The individual counselor will work with you regarding things you may be able to do—on your own—that might help to ultimately reconcile your marriage. (Yet again, this is only if your spouse is willing 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 divorcing clients.
Can’t we just work on reconciliation on our own?
You could, but we still recommend starting with marital counseling. The inability to communicate drives many marital problems. Counseling helps facilitate communications. Couples invest in a great many items during their marriage. Investing in marital counseling can reap rewards—in situations where both spouses have an interest in make the marriage “work.”
If we decide to try to reconcile, do I need to dismiss the divorce proceedings?
Not right away. It depends on the status of your case, how long your case has been pending, and whether your country has a “reconciliation calendar.” So while you can put the divorce proceedings on hold, you can’t put them on hold indefinitely. A good rule of thumb: the judge will 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 – 2015.