Things Divorce Teaches You About Marriage

"If a relationship is problematic before marriage, it will be problematic on steroids after marriage. You're at your best when you're dating -- before any real stressors like health issues, finances, kids or in-laws take hold. If your relationship is tenuous during the honeymoon phase, it's only going to get worse down the road."  

"I didn't realize how easy it is to get married -- and how very difficult it is to get divorced." 

"I wish I had known how unrecognizable the relationship would eventually become, and how deep my wife and I would have to look within ourselves to find the kernel of love that brought us together in the first place. Nobody ever really told me that once we got deep inside the maze of married life, our life would become unfamiliar."  

 "I wish I had known that I wasn't going to be good at marriage. That it isn't for everyone." -  

"Don't marry your best friend. You can have many best friends. You need your partner to be loving, passionate, thoughtful, caring and sexual. It's not all about having things in common, unfortunately. That spark needs to be there. You can't fake passion and sincere sexual attraction."  

"Live your life fully as a single person before you get married. In my opinion, the rush to have kids and make financial investments with a life partner puts the pressure on couples to say 'I do' before they really should."

"I wish I had realized I'd be a different person at 32 and 42 and 52 than the person I was at 22. I wish someone had told me that I'd grow and change -- and that the person I chose to marry needed to be someone who would embrace growth and change along with me."  

"I wish I had known marriage was going to be a learning experience, largely about myself. Some of that learning may have been hard but it's been well worth it. Lasting love is never guaranteed. If a marriage does end before you plan, you have to try to be humane, civil and keep learning as you go."  

"When you have children, the difference in your upbringings will matter. A lot."   

"I wish someone had told me earlier that you simply can’t change (or 'improve') a man unless he really wants to change himself. The greatest lesson for me has been realizing that I need to appraise and focus on a man's positive qualities. As the wise saying goes, 'We come to love not by finding a perfect person, but by learning to see an imperfect person perfectly.'"

"No matter how bad one person wants to stay married or how much love one person has for the other, if you both aren't willing to make it work, your marriage will fail."

"I wish someone had told me that keeping a marriage alive and vibrant takes time and effort. The initial glow of a new relationship wears off and you have to put some work into it. You have to keep dating your spouse. Make the effort to communicate so you can fix the little problems before they become big problems." 

SOURCE: "16 Things Divorce Teaches You About Marriage" by  Brittany Wong, Divorce Editor, The Huffington Post.  

Rules for Men

Experence has taught me some basic rules for men - rules that, when broken, lead to dire consequences:

  • DO NOT let your child's mother find out about another woman.  If you think she is angry now, just wait until she finds out about a new girlfriend.   Don't think that, just because she has remarried and had several children with her new husband, she will not care.  She will.  While this may sound paranoid, I've seen it too many times not to issue a warning.  
  • The second rule is simpler: if you don't have a receipt for child support, you didn't pay. Keep those receipts forever.   Same goes for all other court-ordered payments.
  • Keep a log of your time with the kids.
  • DO NOT sign papers hoping to show your wife/girlfriend how much you love her - this is a recipe for being taken advantage of.  
  • Don't sign yourself up for child support.  This won't give you any more rights to see the children, just a way to end up in jail.  You can always give your child's mother money.

Retroactive Child Support

In legitimation and paternity actions, it is sometimes necessary to consider retroactive child support.   This is almost always money to repay the mother for expenses incurred before a child support order went into effect.  

Retroactive child support has been available in Georgia since Weaver v. Chester, a 1990 Court of Appeals case.  Since then, courts have been required to consider both parties' incomes.  In Smith v. Carter, for example, an appeals court said that the actual expenditures of the mother were the ceiling for a back support award, not the floor, and that "a trial court is required to follow the Child Support Guidelines, which would include at least a consideration of the custodial parent's income, the noncustodial parent's income, and other child support obligations of the parents. See OCGA § 19-6-15(b)."