Tag: divorce causes

Why are so many attorneys seemingly against legal separation?

Why are so many attorneys seemingly against legal separation? I truly feel in my circumstance its best for me/us. Is it because they wont make as much money? We have already started the divorce process. Can it be switched? 

I can’t speak for all divorce attorneys, and I am not an attorney licensed to practice law in Illinois (I practice divorce and family law in Utah), but I can tell you why I personally don’t like going the temporary separation route. 

Too many people divorce needlessly. Too many people divorce only to discover that their spouses and marriages weren’t their problem and/or that divorce wasn’t the solution. I support desires and efforts to save marriage. While legal separation may sound to some like a good way to “get some space” to contemplate whether one should stay married or should divorce, I’ve found that: 

legal separation tends to damage a marriage far more than fostering its survival; and  

by the time one wants a legal separation, he or she really wants a divorce and is only postponing divorce out of fear or laziness or for the sake of appeasing the other spouse or “letter him/her down easy”.  

While I am sure there are people out there whose legal separation proved that “absence makes the hear grow fonder” and helped them “wake up” and realize that their marriage is worth saving, I know no such people. 

If I recall correctly, I’ve seen one legal separation end with the couple later reconciling. In every other legal separation situation, the couple has eventually divorced. So you can see where this is going: why go to the additional trouble, expense, and emotional ordeal of obtaining a legal separation order if you’re going to end up divorcing anyway and having to go through more of the same kind of effort, wait, expense, and pain again? 

I understand the desire to give the marriage every last reasonable opportunity to survive. I understand the desire to take every reasonable effort to save it. But at the same time, I don’t see the point in pouring time, effort, care, and money into what is for most a hopeless cause. **That stated,** I would much rather “waste” time, effort, care, and money on taking every reasonable effort to save my marriage if it meant having the peace of mind that I gave saving my marriage everything I could in an effort to save it before deciding that it was not worth saving or that I alone could not save it and concluding that divorce was the only remaining option. 

Are there divorce lawyers who discourage legal separation because they make (or believe they make) less money working on a legal separation instead of a divorce? I’m sure there are. But not all of us are out to take the client for all he or she is worth (you’d be wise to ensure you don’t hire a greedy lawyer, but there are some among us who are decent, caring, trustworthy professionals worth seeking out). In my experience, if one wants to do all he or she can to save his or her marriage, then working to improve yourself as a spouse, making changes in your family environment, and giving your best efforts to some good marriage counseling are certainly worthwhile. Legal separation rarely, if ever, helps improve a marriage. It tends to weaken and destroy a marriage.  

Utah Family Law, LC | | 801-466-9277 

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What are the 3 main issues that lead to divorce these days?

Every time you hear about divorce, what are the 3 main issues that lead to divorce these days? 

I have been a divorce and family law attorney for 26 years. In that time I have spoken to thousands of people about divorce and their reasons for seeking a divorce. While there are many reasons one may need or feel the need to divorce, the “top 3” reasons are, in my experience: 

  1. Broken trust (whether that is caused by infidelity or hiding a substance abuse problem or failing to “pull one’s own weight” in the marriage relationship, etc.) 
  2. Placing self-interest ahead of fostering the marriage partnership (which usually takes the form of expecting your spouse to be perfect and to be solely or primarily responsible for your happiness) 
  3. Immaturity and/or some kind of mental health disorder 

Utah Family Law, LC | | 801-466-9277 

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How do I get a quick, cheap divorce?

    • Easiest way up front, but usually most foolish, most financially and psychologically expensive in the long term: give your spouse whatever he she wants/demands (while it is possible for your spouse to make a proposal for a divorce settlement that is perfectly fair to you both, this rarely happens. I’ve seen it happen, but it’s one of those black swan occurrences).  
      • If you’re willing to do give your spouse whatever he/she wants in divorce, your spouse may (unless he/she has tremendous chutzpah) even do all the work necessary to process the divorce case to completion (at your expense, of course), so that all you need to do is sign a document or two that results in you losing everything to your spouse.  
      • If it weren’t obvious yet, I’ll be more concise: odds are that if agree to whatever your spouse proposes for divorce, your spouse will take extreme advantage of you.  
      • It’s easy to step off a cliff, but the consequences are hard, lasting, and usually irremediable.  
      • If you believe that “being conciliatory” will make the divorce process easier, you are mistaken. That’s “let the leeches bleed in the hope it will persuade them to stop bleeding you” thinking. 
    • Second easiest (and usually still highly foolish and long-term damaging) way: don’t hire—or at least confer with—a lawyer and do it all yourself.  
      • Can you get a divorce without a lawyer? Yes. It’s getting easier every day with all the resources the internet is making available to do it yourselfers.  
      • Does that mean that the DIY divorce is likely to be one of high quality? One that covers all the legal bases? One that does not result in you making boneheaded, irreversible mistakes? No, not likely. Not bloody likely.  
        • If you and your spouse are young, dirt poor, have no assets of high value, have no crushing amounts of debt, have no children, haven’t been married long, and neither of you want alimony, then a DIY divorce may be worth the risk because even if it works against you, you should be able to recover from it without suffering for a lifetime. Otherwise, a purely DIY divorce usually ends badly for one or both spouses.  
      • I know that to a non-lawyer divorce law seems/feels like it should be fairly intuitive and straightforward. Common sensical. It is not. Really, it is not. I know you want to believe that there is no reason why you and your spouse cannot sit down with some pre-printed forms or online program, fill in the blanks, and be done and at peace. Save time. Save money. Avoid conflict. It’s so tempting to believe such a thing. So comforting. But it’s not true. It’s worse that untrue. It leads to wasted time, money, and to more pain.  
        • Lawyers make good money trying (note I wrote “trying,” not “succeeding”) to help people undo the damage their DIY divorces have done. Wouldn’t you rather spend money on a lawyer to prevent trouble, rather than to help (try to help) you clean up your mess? 
      • If you want to go the DIY route, please, please, please include in the process conferring with a good divorce lawyer (a good divorce lawyer, not just any lawyer) before you start and after you fill out the forms BUT BEFORE YOU SIGN ANYTHING. It will be some of the best money you have ever spent.  

Third easiest (and the least popular) way: Hire—or at least confer with—a good divorce lawyer (a good divorce lawyer, not just any lawyer; there are a lot of lousy divorce lawyers out there) to assist you with what you need to ensure the divorce is handled as well as can be. It will cost you money. If you hire an attorney to represent you throughout the process, it will cost you a lot of money. If your spouse is out to ruin you financially and out to ruin your relationship with your children, you will spend—and need to spend—unimaginable amounts of money on your divorce and your divorce lawyer to prevent the outcome from being even worse than they would be in the absence of a good divorce lawyer’s help.  


There are a lot of bad divorce lawyers out there. Beware. But all divorce lawyers are not bad. The good ones (the skilled ones who deliver real value) are hard to find, but can be found, and are worth finding when you have the need.  

Can there be a point at which the value of a lawyer’s help—even when the lawyer is doing his/her best work for you—doesn’t justify the expense? Yes. Of course. Sometimes the judge has it in for you and you can see you’ll never get a fair shake. Sometimes you can see that your spouse is bent on your financial and emotional ruin. There are times when it makes sense to surrender, to give up because spending money and effort and emotional capital on your divorce becomes a matter of diminishing returns. Otherwise, a good lawyer is worth more to you than the costs.  

Utah Family Law, LC | | 801-466-9277  

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True or false: Better to divorce than have a miserable life.

This blog post is in response to this question: 

I don’t think it’s bad to get a divorce. I think it’s more unhealthy to have miserable lives.

— Ginger Wynn.

What are your thoughts on this statement? 

This statement tries to express a valid point, but it does so in a logically confused way. 

The statement “I don’t think it’s bad to get a divorce. I think it’s more unhealthy to have miserable lives” falsely presumes that divorce will cure or prevent what makes a dysfunctional (or worse) marriage dysfunctional.  

Sometimes a marriage is so toxic and harmful as to require termination. In such cases divorce is not only justified, but necessary.  

Sometimes the trouble one or both spouses is suffering in a marriage can be remedied by divorce.  

Sometimes the trouble a marriage is causing one or both spouses can be remedied by divorce.  

But not always.  

Sometimes the solution is “mend it, don’t end it”; more often than you’d think the cure for dysfunction and discord in a marriage is staying married and working on improving the marriage, not destroying it.  

Far too often I see people divorce in the false belief that their spouses/their marriages are making them miserable only to learn, after the damage is done, that their spouses/their marriages are not the cause(s) of their troubles. They realize that divorcing only compounds their suffering. They consequently become even more miserable.  

So here is what I submit is a more accurate statement: It is not bad to get a divorce when you truly have no better alternative.  

Don’t divorce unless divorce you need to. Know that “mend it, don’t end it” is not the answer before you seek a divorce.  

Utah Family Law, LC | | 801-466-9277  

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Why do people get married only to divorce a few years later?

Why do people get married only to divorce a few years later? Doesn’t really sound like love to me. 

With the exception of those divorces that take place shortly after a marriage due to abuse, mental illness, fraud, and those kinds of things OR a divorce for which there are common law or statutory grounds (adultery, impotency of the respondent at the time of marriage, willful desertion, willful neglect, habitual drunkenness of the respondent, conviction of the respondent for a felony, irreconcilable differences of the marriage, incurable insanity), a divorce after a just a few years of marriage between two otherwise normal people is usually due (in no particular order) to: 

  • realizing the marriage was a mistake, that it’s a genuinely good idea and mutually beneficial to both spouses to end the marriage and a bad idea to spend any more time or effort trying to salvage it; or 
  • selfishness and/or fear or shame; something that renders one to feel unworthy or unwilling to commit to the success of the marriage and family 

Utah Family Law, LC | | 801-466-9277  

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Can I force my spouse to divorce me?

I know of no legal way to force your spouse to filed for divorce against you, but you may not be aware of the fact that your spouse cannot prevent you from divorcing him/her. 

Many people do not understand what no-fault divorce means. Some people mistakenly believe that no-fault divorce means, “My spouse cannot divorce me unless I am somehow at fault.” This is not true. 

No fault divorce means that one can divorce his/her spouse regardless of whether his/her spouse has committed any marital fault. 

What is marital fault, you may ask? each jurisdiction is a little different than another, but here is a basic list of what constitutes marital fault: 

  • Adultery 
  • Abandonment or desertion 
  • Bigamy 
  • Criminal conviction 
  • Cruelty 
  • Criminal conviction and/or imprisonment 
  • Culture, religion, and disease 
  • Financial backing 
  • Force or fraud in obtaining the marriage 
  • Impotence at time of marriage 
  • Insanity/Mental illness/Mental incapacity 
  • Marriage between close relatives 
  • Mental or physical abuse 
  • Willful neglect of spouse 
  • Refusing to engage in sexual intercourse with spouse 
  • Religious differences 
  • Sexual orientation 
  • Separation for an extended period of time 
  • Substance abuse 

Just because no-fault divorce exists does not mean you cannot still file for divorce on a marital fault-based ground or several fault-based grounds. 

Utah Family Law, LC | | 801-466-9277

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Is filing for divorce altogether worth it despite the high cost and heavy emotional toll?

There are clearly circumstances that not only justify but may even necessitate a divorce. No one is bound to remain married too someone who threatens one’s life or physical safety with a life or physical safety of one’s children. No one is required to remain married to someone whose spouse causes one severe mental or emotional anguish. When divorce is a matter of life and death, most people consider the cost and heavy emotional toll to be worth paying. 

Many people divorce believing that the cause of their unhappiness or dissatisfaction or even depression is their spouse. Many of these people have an idealistic, unrealistic expectation of what a spouse should be and how a spouse should behave. Many people believe that if their spouses are not perfect, they are not worth living with. People who think like this and get divorce learn, too late unfortunately, that no spouse is perfect and that it is rather hypocritical for imperfect people to expect their spouses to be perfect. People who divorce under these circumstances are the ones who not only regret losing the companionship of a good and decent (though not perfect) person, and often pay a lifelong emotional (and often financial) price for their mistake. 

 Utah Family Law, LC | | 801-466-9277 

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Which is more likely to cause a marriage to end in divorce – too much money, or not enough?

Which is more likely to cause your marriage to end in divorce – too much money, or not enough?

The perception of not enough money.

With, perhaps, the rare exception of a couple in which one of the spouse’s is totally disabled, there is almost never not enough money to sustain a marriage or family.

A married couple can almost always live more cheaply together than they could apart, so when a couple (and their children, if there are children) is dangerously poor and one of them accurately blames the other for their plight, it is because one of them is not pulling his/her weight.

When a couple’s/family’s income is sufficient to meet their needs, then if the marriage breaks up over “not enough money” it could be because 1) both spouses mismanage their money; 2) one of the two spouses mismanages the money; 3) one of the two spouses has an unrealistic view of how the money should be spent.

When a couple’s income is more than sufficient to meet their needs, then if the marriage breaks up over “not enough money” it is usually because at least one of the spouses has a problem that he/she/they believe(s) spending money will cure or numb. The divorce arises when either:

  • the overspending leads to insolvency (this is when people start buying expensive vehicles and other items on credit, gamble, and otherwise live beyond their means in the hope
  • that getting all the fancy stuff will ease the pain. It’s a very easy trap to fall into); or
  • even though there is still plenty of money to meet their needs and them some, one or both spouses realize(s) that “there ain’t enough money in this world that could keep us together.” In other words, in such a situation the problem isn’t too much (or too little) money.

Precious few of us will ever have more money than we know what to do with. So know that if money is a concern in your marriage, you’re in good company.

If Uncle Eric may offer his brief statement of a remedy to most (not all, but most) marriages that struggle over money issues:

  • you need to take “to have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish” seriously. You need to make your marriage more important than either of you alone (because it is). You need to consider every dollar of each of your earnings “ours” (legally it is—your spouse owns with you everything you earn and vice versa) and each of you needs to view spending the marital income wisely as a solemn duty to the other.
  • You need to live within your means (for many couples setting and sticking to a budget is all the marriage therapy they needed).
  • You need to make spending decisions on most things jointly (each of you must have a little money to spend as you choose, but major purchases need to be jointly made).
  • You can’t have secrets from each other when it comes to income and spending money.
  • You need to save a portion of your income for emergencies and for future needs and wants.

Do these things with a sincere heart (even when it’s tempting not to do them) and your marriage will not break up over money.

Utah Family Law, LC | | 801-466-9277

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