Sherri came to see me for an initial divorce consultation. Her mother accompanied her to the appointment and paid the fee. After sharing some introductory remarks and asking how I could help her, Sherri said that she wanted to get a divorce. She wanted to file the paperwork as soon as possible. I had noticed on the intake form that Sherri had been married less than one year, so I asked her what was going on, what caused her to be sitting in front of me that day. Sherri explained that she and her husband constantly argued. The arguments were explosive but not violent. They had not yet opened a joint bank account, and all their monthly bills were being paid out of Sherri’s account. A few months into the marriage, her husband wanted a to buy new truck, but his credit wasn’t very good. So, Sherri applied for the loan in her name, and her husband got the truck he wanted. Sherri was paying for this truck out of her account, and she felt like her husband was sponging off of her. Sherri’s mother nodded the entire time as her daughter spoke. Sherri was tearful and sad in our meeting. She said that she loved her husband, but she didn’t like all the fighting and she knew marriage shouldn’t be that way. When Sherri was finished, I asked her if they had ever talked about budgeting or how they would manage the household expenses before marriage. When she shook her head, I asked Sherri if she had told her husband that she was upset with their current arrangement for paying the bills. She shook her head again. I then asked if she had considered getting some help from a counselor on how she and her husband might better communicate with each other. Through more tears, Sherri said she was willing to go to counseling, but she was afraid to bring it up with her husband because he might say no.
Brandon and his wife had been married more than fifteen years and had three kids together. When he had an affair, Brandon and his wife agreed to separate, and he filed for divorce shortly thereafter. They already had been to court and had temporary court orders in place by the time Brandon ended up in my office. He retained my services to help him “finish up his divorce.” In my third or fourth meeting with Brandon, he shared with me that he still loved his wife, that he regretted his affair and would choose to reconcile if she would agree. When I heard his feelings, I asked why he had filed for divorce if he still loved his wife and wanted to be married. He responded that he felt like he had no other choice but to file for divorce because his wife wouldn’t talk to him after she discovered his infidelity.