Divorce Advice: Could Consulting a Lawyer Too Early Be Bad For Your Marriage?

If you are asking whether it is too early to consult a divorce lawyer, then the right time to see the divorce lawyer was yesterday.

An urban legend has it that the very act of talking to a divorce attorney threatens to increase the acrimony and hatred in a marriage. Some literature on the subject of “staying happily married” even advises to stay away from divorce lawyers as long as possible, if you want to save your marriage. It is as though your marriage is a precious princess and the lawyers are the wicked witches of discord, awaiting in the wings to cause the spell.

As usual, divorce lawyers are being unfairly badmouthed!

First of all, it is not true that talking to a lawyer will hurt a marriage. Talking to a divorce attorney has the same effect as talking to any professional who deals with unpleasant eventualities. It prepares you and diminishes the unpleasantness.  You may have talked to your insurance broker to get his advice on which program offers the best protection in the unfortunate event that your house burns to the ground or develops a sewage problem. Even more likely, you have seen your doctor for a physical. Some folks even do that every year. Neither your insurance guy nor your primary care doctor can “give” you fire, flood or disease. Likewise, the sole act of consulting a divorce lawyer cannot “give” you divorce. It is completely painless to your marriage.

There is one caveat though. Divorce lawyers are harmless—just so long as your husband (or wife) stays ignorant that you talked to one. Acrimony and hatred caused by a trip to a divorce lawyer arise under one condition—if your spouse becomes aware. If he does not know, then he will not hate you one bit. It is not the consultation with the lawyer that hurts. It is your choice to bang the door, punctuating your yelp “You will hear from my lawyer.” That, indeed, may hurt a marriage. I suggest that you do not do that yet.

Instead, make a completely different move. Quietly step into the office of your friendly divorce practitioner, while your husband believes that you are innocently occupied by a game of bridge with your girlfriends. Pay cash. When you return home, never mention the meeting. Your marriage might be stronger for the exercise.

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