How not to get divorced: CT collaborative divorce group wants newlyweds to avoid these pitfalls

(HARTFORD, CT)- March 19, 2015- During spring and summer wedding season, brides-to-be will be showered with expensive gifts like silver and china. But members of the CT Collaborative Divorce Group (CCDG) want to give all engaged couples the most valuable gift of all: a marriage that lasts forever. The CCDG attorneys, mental health and financial professionals have counseled thousands of couples during a divorce and have found disagreements about money, religion, kids, sex and family relationships are the top reasons a couple splits.

"It is often very helpful for couples to have premarital counseling to discuss these issues said CCDG member and Glastonbury Psychologist, Dr. Elaine Ducharme. "Some religions actually require couples to participate in these kinds of programs. One to three sessions can help couples identify their strengths, weaknesses and differences."


Red flags that are rationalized and overlooked while dating can certainly lead to the breakdown of the marriage if not addressed. Ducharme warns, "Never ignore violence or alcoholism, assuming it will get better after marriage. Additionally, the beginning of a relationship is when it should be the best. If there's a history of violence and lots of conflict, fighting and arguing, it generally won't get much better."

Ducharme share her top 5 communication rules for couples:

  • Listen to what your partner is saying…don't be forming your rebuttal while they are talking…It is often better to feel heard than to be right.
  • Know when to take a break…and then set a definite time to come back and discuss.
  • Try to look at your partner's view.
  • Learn that you can agree to disagree.
  • Don't have major discussions when under the influence of alcohol.

Hartford Attorney and CCDG member Robert Fried believes good communication is essential going into a marriage and that should include discussions about how to manage finances, do they want to have children and if so, how the children will be raised and whether or not a parent will stay home with the children. That conversation should also include the benefits of entering into a prenuptial agreement. Discussing and writing down what each party expects can resolve issues prior to marriage.

"Even though it's commonly known that about half of all marriages in this country ultimately end in divorce, no couple in love thinks it will happen to them," said Attorney Robert B. Fried. "Everyone has heard horror stories about divorces. By executing a prenuptial agreement, you keep control over your destiny and work out agreements that make sense for your family. Further, helping couples talk about their future together and what kind of marriage they want, can exert a positive force on a healthy marriage."

Fried notes that many divorces occur because the parties have changed over time or may have different goals. Many couples cite financial difficulties as the reason for the breakup. A prenuptial agreement allows the couple to agree, in advance, how to divide assets brought into the marriage, assets and debt accrued during a marriage and can provide protection for the primary wage-earner and also for a stay-at-home spouse. The agreement can also offer protection for property owned prior to the marriage, possible future inheritances, and assets for children from a prior marriage or relationship.

"Deciding to have a prenuptial agreement is simply a smart business plan that protects you and your family in case something bad happens," said Attorney Fried.

Ducharme concludes, "The most common pitfalls need to be addressed before the couple walks down the aisle so that they start the marriage on solid ground. It really helps when each person has good coping and problem solving skills and is able to communicate and listen."

CCDG is a group of experienced divorce professionals, including divorce and family lawyers, financial and mental health professionals who have been specifically trained in the collaborative process. Each member of the group has made a commitment to the goals of collaborative practice in order to help people achieve fair and lasting settlements without using the court or even the threat of court. Additionally, each member attends regular meetings and training sessions designed to develop and enhance their collaborative divorce skills.