If you are searching for informative and helpful information regarding divorce and family law issues in Alabama, you've come to the right place. Mobile and Baldwin County attorney Jim Jeffries provides monthly posting and updates, including informative articles and helpful reviews on current divorce-related news events. Our firm has more than two decades experience in our practice areas and is dedicated to providing excellent service and skilled representation for each of our clients. We also seek to further the education of each of our clients regarding divorce matters, so check back regularly for more information on Alabama Family Law!
It seems ironic that a divorce lawyer might offer marriage advice. When the Minister of Education at my church asked me to teach Sunday School to the Newlyweds, I gave him a hard time about bringing in a divorce lawyer to teach to young married couples. But, I really don’t know someone more qualified to tell you what to do and not do in your marriage than a divorce lawyer. In my divorce practice in Mobile and Baldwin County, I have seen all the problems that tend to contribute to the breakdown of a marriage. Maybe you know a young (or not so young couple) that could benefit from this information.
Here, in my experience, are the top five problems that contribute to divorce:
1. Money – Whether it is differences in values about money, issues about control of the money or financial pressures that put a strain on the relationship, money issues often lead to divorce. Best to get on the same page early, be fair about how the money is controlled, and attempt to understand and accommodate your spouse’s views on money.
2. Communication – I will often have a client of mine that is going through divorce tell me that they love their spouse, they are just no longer in love with them. I’m not sure exactly what that means. But, typically it is a sign that the couple quit having meaningful communication with one another some time ago. Communicate deeply and often with your spouse.
3. Lack of Commitment – I don’t intend to get on my soapbox about this issue, but it is hard to dispute that our nation no longer has the same view of marriage we once did. Sometimes a divorce is the only option, but quite frequently (particularly with younger couples, it seems) I will see one or the other spouse who really cannot express a good reason why they want the divorce. One divorce lawyer I know comments on how the threshold on what it takes to get someone to pull the trigger on divorce has decreased dramatically in the past twenty years. Perhaps it has something about how self absorbed and tied to instant gratification we have become. It will keep divorce lawyers in business, but it is sad for us as a nation.
4. Physical Addictions – Thankfully they occur in the minority of cases that I see. But, when they do, they are quite tragic. Whether it is alcohol, illegal drugs or prescription drugs, the effects of addiction can obviously be devastating. The best advice is to intervene early and get professional help.
5. Sex – Of course, sexual problems frequently lead to divorce as well. But, their effect is probably overestimated. Generally speaking infidelity is a sign of other problems in the marriage, not the original problem. Increasingly, however, I am seeing the internet playing a role in these cases. Whether it is pornographic websites or the ability to meet others anonymously and easily online, the internet provides new snares for a relationship that did not previously exist.
Despite the fact that I help my clients navigate their way through divorce, I do not encourage divorce. Hopefully this advice will help someone avoid it all together.
Ben Stevens of the South Carolina Family Law Blog posted the final installment of his Secrets to a Happy Marriage series. This one is develop a shared vision for your relationship and review every 5 years.
The author suggests that every five years the couple take a weekend retreat and re-evaluate where you have come and where you are going as a couple.
The entire post can be found here.
A recent study by the Mayo clinic concludes that a healthy marriage is good for your health. The study found that the benefits of a healthy marriage include lower rates of disease, a longer life span and a greater sense of well-being.
The definition of a happy marriage as used in the study is one in which the parties enjoy strong commitment and open lines of communications.
The study keyed its conclusions to the fact that they found that the happily married subjects had less stress.
The article can be found at this link.
For my divorcing clients the lesson here is that you are more at risk for health problems during a divorce. At that time, more than any other, it is important to enjoy proper diet, exercise regularly, and find emotional and spiritual support.
I would change the title of this one to “words matter” or “words are powerful”. But, his point is well made.
Even those happily married could benefit from this advice, “praise your spouse often in public and in private.”
If more of our prospective clients put into action the “secrets” that Ben’s guest blogger, Dr. Kuhne, is sharing we’d have to find another source of revenue. And, that wouldn’t be a bad thing. The truth, is however, that the demand for family law attorneys is not declining anytime soon. To do so would take a major shift in our culture that does not currently seem to be on the horizon. The entire article is also continued below.
Ben Stevens at the South Carolina Family Law Blog has posted #2 in the series of Secrets to a Happy Marriage.
His guest blogger, a pastoral marriage and family therapist, obviously knows his subject. His first “secret” was regarding transparency in money issues. This one speaks to good communication skills and “breaking” your spouse’s “code.” Good stuff.
In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, my friend, Ben Stevens, has posted the first in a series of posts on the secrets to a happy marriage.
The series promises to cut right to the heart of the issues that often seem to cause problems in relationships. How do I know? See Secret #1: Full disclosure of money – No hidden accounts.
My divorcing clients are often surprised when we discover assets or accounts they never knew about. This applies to financial asset accounts as well as credit accounts they may not have known about (for secret purchases). The fact that such accounts are in existence for these divorcing spouses, seems to offer some support for the theory that keeping such secret accounts is not a sign of a healthy relationship.
I look forward to the additional articles in this series, and I will posts the links here as they appear.
A new survey asked a sample of 1,000 adults what issues a person should discuss with their prospective spouse before they marry. Here are the results and brief commentary about the survey.
Here is a link to a very good article at Christianity Today titled What I Wish I’d Known Before I Got Divorced. More of my clients and/or their spouses need to know this before they decide to go through with the divorce.
My friend and fellow divorce lawyer, Ben Stevens of the South Carolina Family Law Blog, pointed this article out to me. It is an article titled On Listening and Other Rare, Exotic Habits by Hans and Donna Finzel.
A quote from the article – “In this age of telecommunications and voice messaging, there is still no substitute for quiet, prolonged exposure of one soul to another. With all the marvels of the Internet and a reach-out-and-touch-someone technology, husband and wife are more in need of quiet and prolonged communication than ever before. The more busy and crazy our lives become, the more communication protects the marriage.”
If more husbands and wives communicated better and more deeply, I’d have a lot less work.
I recently came across the website for The Healthy Marriage Initiative. The site states that their mission statement is
To help couples, who have chosen marriage for themselves, gain greater access to marriage education services, on a voluntary basis, where they can acquire the skills and knowledge necessary to form and sustain a healthy marriage.
Click here if you’d like to view their site and see if they have any resources that you or someone you know may be able to use.