AS an attorney, the writer has handled many divorces. Here are some questions that two people getting married should contemplate before walking down the aisle.
1. Am I ready for this? Is he/she?
Marriage is a serious undertaking not to be pressured into because your friends and colleagues are all married and you are the last man or woman standing. It is a serious commitment to another individual for better or for worse. The couple entering holy matrimony must consider the vows that they will be taking and whether they are ready to take the next step in their relationship which will have certain legal and social implications. Note: if you made a will before you were married, it will be void after the ceremony under the laws of Saint Lucia.
2. Are we on the same wave length in terms of finances?
One of the main causes of divorce is the issue of money. For example, if the intending spouses do not have the same value system in terms of their philosophy towards money, this will be a problem. Further, if they do not have the same or similar earning capacity and they do not discuss this, it will inevitably lead to concerns of abuse and misuse of funds within the marriage. Note: debts incurred during the marriage will be shared by both spouses even if that car loan or mortgage is only in one party’s name. If you default on your payment, the financial institution will not hesitate to go after your spouse.
3. Do we both want children? Or not?
Your husband or wife to be may be great with kids, other people’s kids and you may assume from this that they want children of their own. It is possible that they cannot wait to start a family, and alternatively they may hold the view that children are great when there are someone else’s and may not want children of their own. Talk to your intending spouse about their views on having children or not. It can be a real deal breaker in some relationships. Note: if your marriage is not working and you file for divorce, your divorce cannot be finalised without custody and maintenance of the children being agreed or decided by the court.
4. Are we compatible-socially?
They say that opposites attract, so a social butterfly and a bookworm may enjoy each other’s company, however, how are you towards each other’s relatives and friends? Do you get along with your future mother-in-law or is your nickname for her, is monster-in-law? You may laugh about your fragile relationship with your soon to be in-laws before getting married, but if your future husband or wife is very close to their family, and you are not, this is very likely to spell disaster moving forward. Note: social interaction is central to every relationship, and both parties must recognise the relationship that they have with each other and others is likely to change and make the necessary adjustments.
5. Do we have similar values?
Are you both religious? Do you have the same or similar moral and ethical perspective? These are important questions to consider when getting married. Do you have similar perspectives on abortion, decriminalising marijuana, political affiliations? Your partner should complement you and not conflict with your moral compass. Note: politics and religion are two areas that bring about the most conflict especially for persons who are very religious or politically minded.
6. Do we have similar interests?
Getting married to a Sports fanatic when you would rather stay home and watch television can be a problem. If your intending spouse wants to go to sports events and you do not want to participate, it could lead to difficulties down the line. Being in sync with your hobbies and interests is not the most important consideration, however, if your intending spouse has very little interest in something that you are passionate about, it could lead to potential conflicts.
7. Do we have similar expectations about marriage?
The intending spouses should have similar expectations about want marriage means to them and what they want from each other. One intending spouse cannot expect to maintain a similar lifestyle to before marriage, whereas his or her partner’s expectation is a major shift in priorities and commitments. It is important to discuss this before getting married.
8. Do we want the same things out of life?
Both partners should have similar goals and ambitions from life. In other words, one intending spouse cannot want to maintain the status quo and live in the same country while the other has aspirations of travelling the world and living in different countries. A major lifestyle change, for example, re-locating to another country must be discussed with the intending spouse, to avoid conflict.
9. Will we communicate as well in the future?
If the intending spouses are having communication problems from the offset and do not resolve their differences, this will only be heightened by marriage. Communication is key to any relationship. The parties involved must show their love and respect for each other by communicating constantly what their interests and desires are.
10. Can I trust him/her?
It was once said that a relationship without trust was like a car without gas. You can stay in it as long as you want, but you won’t go anywhere. Every successful relationship is built on trust, without it, the relationship is doomed to failure. This is especially true in marriage. If the intending spouses have trust issues, then their marriage will not survive. Note: if your intending spouse was unfaithful to you before the marriage, it is likely that this will reoccur. Infidelity is one of the major grounds for divorce.
Ms. Trudy O. Glasgow is a practising attorney at the law firm Trudy O. Glasgow & Associates, a court-appointed mediator and author in Saint Lucia (and has also taught law at University level in the UK)*
This column is for general use only, for advice specifically for your case, please see your lawyer.
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