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What Divorce Lawyers Know About NOT Breaking Up

We spoke to the experts (’cos they know what causes relationships to explode) and got some serious tips on making yours work...

Breaking up can get ugly. Like, dream-shattering, world-ending, give-me-back-my-engagement-ring kind of ugly. And divorce lawyers have listened to more sob stories than Oprah, so they understand what it is that makes some relationships soar and other nose-dive into disaster zone. We asked five such legal relationship experts, aka divorce lawyers, how to keep love from coming unstuck. And they even waived the legal fees!

Be more accepting of each other
“A lot of times people turn into someone they are not, just to please the other person. But this doesn’t work in the long run, and once the honeymoon phase is over, problems start to creep in. Just be yourself and don’t expect your partner to change. Be more accepting towards each other and don’t portray someone you’re not. Also, every time you have an argument, don’t drag out skeletons from the closet and try to pull the other person down. Instead, focus on addressing the particular issue at hand and resolve that.”
—Jasmine Damkewala, 31, practices law at the Supreme Court of India

Remind yourself that you’re part of a team
“Over a period of time, couples stop thinking about the other person’s interest and the arguments become less of a ‘we’ and more of an ‘I’. Don’t do that. At all points in your
relationship, remember that you’re in it together and not against each other. Do things that you enjoy doing together, as that will help you bond. And never stop communicating with each other because that leads to mistrust between people. I believe pre-litigation counselling is a must. A counsellor can help put things in perspective.”

—Mrunalini Deshmukh, is a well-known Mumbai-based lawyer who has worked with many celebrity couples

Pick your battles (but have them!)
“I’d be worried if I wasn’t arguing with my partner. I had a client who had been married for 35 years, but hadn’t spoken to her husband in 12 years! They lived separately within the same house and communicated via their adult children, who didn’t live with them anymore. If you get to the point that you don’t care enough to argue with your partner, it’s
bad. If you’re just ignoring each other, there’s nothing left to fight for.”
—Samantha, 32, is a principal solicitor at Greater West Family Lawyers, Australia

Never compare your relationship

“A lot of newlyweds end up in a divorce court because they constantly compare their relationship to their parents’. That’s a bad idea. While it’s great to be close to your parents, running to them for every little argument is not ideal. Couples should aim at sorting out their issues themselves, and not involve their parents at every stage. I’ve seen so many couples who think that having an elaborate wedding is enough for them to stay together forever, but that’s just the beginning. Relationships are complex, and they
need nurturing. Instead of a huge wedding, focus on having a better marriage. And get to know each other well before you decide to get married.”
—Sheila Jayaprakash, is an advocate at the High Court of India

Be honest (MOSTLY)
“I think a few little white lies are important for the well-being of a relationship. Like, if you don’t want to go to the movies, sometimes you just have to anyway. Couples do need to fight sometimes, and arguing is very healthy for any relationship, but you can’t argue about every single little thing that ticks you off. Be honest with your partner, because if
something is important to you, it’s bound to become a long-term issue if you don’t address it." —Tiana, 31, is a partner at Rossi Simicic Lawyers, Australia