Family Law

5 Reasons People Get Divorced During The First Years of Marriage

Welcome to The First Years of Marriage Newsletter! We talk about the conversations, challenges, and changes that begin once the honeymoon ends. Advice from experts, mistakes from me (Jen Glantz), and things you’re going to want to know as you continue to ask yourself this question – “I’m married, so now what?”

One more thing for you:

I am working on THE NEWLYWED CARD GAME! A card game for newlyweds that sparks meaningful convos, hilarious adventures, & fresh romantic moments after the honeymoon ends.

A limited number of decks will be available in December, so you can snag your game in the pre-sale + tons of bonus prizes too! Thank you for checking this out – woohoo!

Divorce in the first years of marriage? It happens. Here’s why:

I’ve always been open about talking about divorce. It’s a topic that rarely is mentioned in news articles or movies when the story is about a pair of newlyweds. People look at a couple who just said “I do” and jetted off on their honeymoon as if it’s certain their love will be everlasting – and while everyone hopes that to be true – the truth is, not every relationship will last forever.

Some will end in divorce and some will end in divorce during the first years of marriage.

I have a handful of friends getting divorced this year. I went to their weddings only a few years ago.

Every single one of them has a unique story as to why the marriage is ending.

The news always feels shocking to hear, but most things in life that happen suddenly can be heavy in our ears.

All of this made me wonder:

Are there common reasons couples get divorced as newlyweds?

The answer is yes.

Let’s look at those reasons, according to divorce lawyers.

Different Opinions on Having Children

For some couples, after marriage comes to a conversation about when or if the couple wants to have kids.

Divorce lawyer Ronald Lieberman suggests making that conversation one that happens sooner rather than later.

“I suggested couples thinking of getting married have a discussion about whether they want to have children and if so when. Generally speaking, the couple needs to be on the same page regarding children otherwise it becomes a source of friction of one party feels like they are being put off for too long or if another party feels like they’re being forced,” says Lieberman.

Conflict Around Cleaning and Habits

You really get to know a person when you move in with them. So for couple’s who waited until they got married to share a space, Marina Shepelsky, CEO, founder and attorney at Shepelsky Law Group, says that could lead to some big problems.

“If spouses did not live together before marriage and just move in when they marry (for many religious couples, for example) – they have different ideas of personal and household hygiene, cleanliness, dirty socks on the floor, who runs the laundry, etc.”,” says Shepelsky.

An Unwillingness to Compromise

The truth is, there are things that change after a couple gets married and one of those things is all about how much we’re willing to compromise. Dr. Tracy A. Pearson, J.D., says she saw this a lot when she practiced divorce law.

“Before people marry, there is a willingness to sacrifice anything for the partner in the relationship. After marriage, permanency takes hold features of personalities that might have been unnoticed or discounted can become destructive. Some people refuse to compromise and tend to the relationship. Sometimes, with perceived permanency comes complacency and a failure to tend to the relationship that was cultivated prior to marriage. These phenomenons are exacerbated when couples face adversity, like the death of a parent, a loss of a job, and even a death of a child. Implicit bias, in the form of survival kicks in, and the relationship is less of a priority,” says Dr. Pearson

Marriage Was to Save the Relationship

One thing I have personally learned (and seen) as a Bridesmaid for Hire are the many reasons people get married. It’s not always for love. Divorce Attorney, Melissa Fecak, says she’s seen couples get married to try to save their relationship.

“I have seen several situations where the relationship is going south and the couple decides to marry to solidify the relationship. Unless the couple is committed to working on improving the relationship, they bring into the marriage the same issues they had in their relationship before marriage. By tying the knot, they have now made separation more of a challenge as now they have to divorce rather than just split up. Marriage does not solve the problems of a difficult relationship and often can add new ones,” says Fecak.

Money, Money, Money

Finances are always a hot topic when it comes to love. Family Law Attorney, Sabrina Shaheen Cronin, says that money can be a huge reasons why marriages don’t work out in the first couple of years.

“Different people handle finances differently. One spouse may be a spender, one may be a saver. During the first years of marriage, couples are learning how to live together, budget, and maintain their lifestyle expectations. If they do not agree on what is appropriate, it can lead to stress and arguments and, ultimately, could be a cause of divorce,” says Cronin.

How can couples prevent this from happening?

“Communicate. Talk about finances prior to marriage and explain your monthly budget, your spending habits, your savings plan, and your expectations from your partner. Come up with a plan together so there are no surprises along the way, and this will help to alleviate any uncertainty and, hopefully, prevent arguments surrounding your finances,” says Cronin.

Divorce is a taboo topic, especially for newlyweds. I didn’t write this to scare you but to talk about something that can be helpful to talk about. While we don’t ever want our marriages to end in divorce, understanding the common reasons why couples split up can help us take action and be aware of the things that we can work on now – if we need to work on those things.

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