Can I hire a divorce attorney to help save my marriage? 31 Answers as of July 08, 2013

This may seem unusual, but making the details short, my wife and I have a 3 year old. My wife wants to see an attorney about a divorce very soon. We do have some issues, but I feel it would be best for our family if we at least made an effort to save our marriage before moving forward with divorce. So I would like to find an attorney that would stress trying everything possible before ending our marriage. We do still live together and for the most part, get along well together. I love her and she does say she loves me, she just doesn't think she wants to be married. I'm afraid that just picking an attorney out of a hat, we could get one that is only concerned with the business end and not what may really be best for us.

Ask a Local Attorney. 100% Anonymous. Free Answers.

Free Case Evaluation by a Local Lawyer: Click here
Horizons Law Group, LLC
Horizons Law Group, LLC | Michelle B. Fitzgerald
You would want to work with an attorney who practices mediation. Couples that do complete the process are still thankful for having gone through it this way rather than the traditional way.
Answer Applies to: Wisconsin
Replied: 10/20/2011
Reza Athari & Associates, PLLC | Armand Fried
I think your concerns about hiring any lawyer are very well taken, and furthermore I don't think that any attorney is the right person to help the family stay together. That is simply not what attorneys are trained to do. It like hiring a fireman to paint your house. I can sympathize with and respect your desire to save the marriage, but a marriage counselor, social worker, therapist, or similarly trained professional, not an attorney, is the way to go.
Answer Applies to: Nevada
Replied: 10/20/2011
Law Office of Karen A. Clark, L.L.C.
Law Office of Karen A. Clark, L.L.C. | Karen A. Clark
Lawyers are not marriage counselors. I would suggest that you see a counselor about ways of resolving your differences with your wife in the most positive manner.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 10/19/2011
Law Office of Michael W. Bugni
Law Office of Michael W. Bugni | Jay W. Neff
I suppose that you could hire an attorney for this purpose, but it seems like a poor idea. First, most any family law attorney is going to be fairly expensive. Second, our training and experience is all about taking marriages apart, not putting them together. Therefore, hiring an attorney to try to put a marriage together is probably not a very good use of money. At least, not at this point in the process. Now, you say that you love her. You also say that she love you. Therefore, it seems to me it would make more sense (and probably be less expensive) to go to someone who does couple/marriage counseling. This person could help the two of you work through whatever issues are interfering with your mutual love. Once you got through that, then, if there were some portions of your relationship that had to be made more formal, you could hire an attorney to help with that.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 10/18/2011
John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law
John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law | John Kirchner
Clearly your concern is finding an attorney who will follow your wishes to avoid legal proceeding until it is clear that there is no alternative. Every attorney is ethically bound to do that; but, the lawyer's competence is in ending the marriage, not saving it. So, few lawyers will be willing to take your case for the sole purpose "saving the marriage". Until one of you decides to file the divorce and tells the lawyer to do that, however, there isn't anything the lawyer can or needs to do.
Answer Applies to: Colorado
Replied: 10/18/2011
    Glenn E. Tanner
    Glenn E. Tanner | Glenn E. Tanner
    The properly trained attorney, yes. Consider collaborative law.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 10/18/2011
    Michael Anthony Wing, P.C.
    Michael Anthony Wing, P.C. | Michael Anthony Wing
    Everybody fights. Children do better with two parents.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 7/8/2013
    Vincent J. Bernabei LLC
    Vincent J. Bernabei LLC | Vincent J. Bernabei
    Yes. Most experienced family law attorneys can refer you to knowledgeable marriage therapists and direct you to reconciliation counseling.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 10/18/2011
    Cody and Gonillo, LLP
    Cody and Gonillo, LLP | Christine Gonilla
    Attorneys are hired to assist the parties through their divorce; however, there are reconciliation procedures that may be undertaken during the pendency of an action.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 10/18/2011
    Reeves Law Firm, P.C.
    Reeves Law Firm, P.C. | Roy L. Reeves
    Your concerns are valid, very valid. Unfortunately, I cannot tell you how to find a lawyer that will stress reconciliation. I tell my clients, I am likely the strangest divorce lawyer in the world, if they are not certain, I will give them the name of a marriage counselor or two. Though I have never had anyone take me up on the offer. Most people, when they make the commitment to walk into a lawyer's officer, have already made up their mind. Do you attend church? If so, have you considered asking the minister to talk to the two of you first? Many church families have a counselor on staff to deal with these issues, and a minister can and will always stress reconciliation first (fortunately before a spouse commits to talk divorce with a lawyer, so it is a better timing option). If not, I would recommend you simply ask her to try counseling, try talking to someone together or separate who may be able to help, if you are all in, she has two choices, play along or quit. If she quits, I regret to tell you there is not a lot you can do. It takes two to be married, one to stop. However, if there is still something there, a minister or counselor is cheaper than a pair of divorce lawyers and ultimately better for your child who deserves to be considered in this process now, not later by a court. If you live in the Dallas area, my offices are in Plano, I would be happy to give you 30 minutes of my time. I can only tell her that it is her choice, not mine, but I will give my usual offer of recommending counseling. To that end, there is a place here in Plano at the corner of Custer and Plano Pkwy (close to George Bush) called The Hope Center. There are a myriad of faith based counselors in that building, if your minister cannot help, someone there can, as long as both of you are willing to try. If you reach the point of decision and there is no going back, she wants the divorce, consider your child, and if possible, use one lawyer, make this easy on yourselves.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 10/18/2011
    AyerHoffman, LLP
    AyerHoffman, LLP | Cara Lee Thompson
    It sounds as though you may benefit more from a marriage counselor or licensed health professional that specializes in marriage and couples therapy. If you alone or both of you decide that you do want to proceed with the divorce process and you are on amicable terms, you may at that point benefit from an attorney that specializes in divorce mediation, as mediation tends to be less expensive than litigation.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 10/18/2011
    Dunnings Law Firm
    Dunnings Law Firm | Steven Dunnings
    Attorneys don't save divorces. You need to see if your spouse wants to salvage the marriage, and if so, if she is willing to go to couples counselling.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 10/18/2011
    Petit & Dommershausen SC
    Petit & Dommershausen SC | Tajara Dommershausen
    An attorney's job is to do what the client says they want not try to convince someone of what they think is in their best interest. It sounds like you want a marriage counselor not an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Wisconsin
    Replied: 10/18/2011
    Beaulier Law Office
    Beaulier Law Office | Maury Beaulier
    A divorce attorney, by definition, is hire to assist parties in dissolving their marriage. Their skill set and job description are not compatible with saving a marriage. For that the parties must agree to see a therapist.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 10/18/2011
    The McDonnell Law Firm, PLLC
    The McDonnell Law Firm, PLLC | Patrick J. McDonnell
    Go seek mediation or other counseling avenues. Attorneys are litigators, not counselors.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 10/18/2011
    The Law Office of Cathy R. Cook
    The Law Office of Cathy R. Cook | Cathy R. Cook
    Attorneys are not trained to counsel people on working on their marriages. They can, however, refer you to counseling. If your wife does not want to go, no one can force her.
    Answer Applies to: Ohio
    Replied: 10/18/2011
    Attorney Paul Lancia
    Attorney Paul Lancia | Paul Lancia
    Yes. Don't represent yourself in court though.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 10/18/2011
    Law Office of Kathryn L. Hudson
    Law Office of Kathryn L. Hudson | Kathryn L. Hudson
    Very interesting approach. Obviously attorneys can be expensive and should be employed if the marriage cannot be saved, but I'm not sure what an attorney trained to litigate can do in your situation. Your question reminds me of a movie you might watch with your wife if you have not already seen it, "The War of the Roses" with Michael Douglas and Danny Devito. It's start off with an attorney (Danny Devito) trying to talk a couple out of divorce, if I was going to undertake your quest that attorney's approach would be one to copy.
    Answer Applies to: Arkansas
    Replied: 10/18/2011
    The Zwiebel Law Firm, LLC
    The Zwiebel Law Firm, LLC | Elizabeth Zwiebel
    You need a collaborative lawyer. A collaborative process each party has a counselor to work out communication problems. Plus some collaborative clients reconcile rather than file for divorce.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 10/18/2011
    Law Office of L. Paul Zahn
    Law Office of L. Paul Zahn | Paul Zahn
    An attorney is not the right person to see if you are hopeful of avoiding divorce. Many attorneys will ask, as I will, if you have sought out counseling or couples therapy and if you are sure that this is what you want to do, but we don't have the training to assist people with avoiding divorce. I would suggest that you propose therapy and pursue that route before speaking with an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/17/2011
    The Law Office of Erin Farley
    The Law Office of Erin Farley | Erin Farley
    Your question is valid. Attorneys have an ethical duty to not promote divorce...but no *duty* to promote marriage. Still, there are attorneys who recognize when a marriage is salvageable and will work with opposing counsel to effect some counseling for the couple. Your best bet, though, is to be honest with your wife. Be vulnerable. Suggest counseling yourself. You have a 3 year-old you'll be parenting together for the rest of your lives. Whether the counseling is toward reconciliation or toward peaceful co-parenting, it is the best route for your family.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/17/2011
    Law Office of Richard B. Kell
    Law Office of Richard B. Kell | Richard B. Kell
    While I certainly recommend finding an attorney who genuinely cares about you and your 3 year old's well-being, there is not much a lawyer can do to preserve a marriage once the other side has decided to move forward with a divorce. A divorce attorney's primary role and legal duty as your representative is to protect your interests in the divorce process itself. With that said, I would avoid the types who hold themselves out as being highly "aggressive." Those are usually the ones who only care about the business end. They churn out unnecessary paperwork, make wild representations, etc. which are designed to keep the parties inflamed and increase billing. I am member of a small, but close-nit network of attorneys across MA who all take pride in not being like those I described above. We get sick of dealing with those types as well.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 10/17/2011
    Law Office of Cassandra Savoy
    Law Office of Cassandra Savoy | Cassandra Savoy
    Lawyers do not solve marital problems. Lawyers solve legal problems. There are ways to collaborate so that the process is far less combative. However, I don't know any lawyers who discuss non-legal solutions to marital problems.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 10/17/2011
    Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser
    Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser | Donald F. Conviser
    Your initial premise is incorrect. "We" don't pick "one attorney." The parties can't jointly choose an attorney to handle the divorce - that attorney would have a conflict of interest. Each party gets separately represented by his or her own attorney unless a party chooses to be self-represented. If you want to try to save your marriage, I would recommend marriage counseling. If your wife files a divorce case, try to find a "peacemaker" attorney to try to steer the case away from adversary wrangling.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/17/2011
    Law Offices of Arlene D. Kock
    Law Offices of Arlene D. Kock | Arlene D. Kock
    You may consider a therapist to work out the psychological details of the changes in your relationship with your spouse. Your spouse may be open to counseling to improve your partnership as parents.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/17/2011
    Michael Apicella
    Michael Apicella | Apicella Law and Mediation
    You bring up a valid, and unfortunately, accurate point. I.e., most divorce lawyers are more concerned with their fee, and hence operate in a manner designed to increase it. Very few lawyers try to talk a prospective client out of using their services. That said, I've saved a few marriages when a spouse call upset, and instead of encourage that person to file for divorce, I encouraged that they seek a marriage counselor. I've even done so after one party has filed for divorce and both have been using my mediation services. I would strongly suggest that you avoid calling a family law lawyer (unless you want to know your legal rights), and instead call a local marriage/family therapist and set up an appointment for you and your wife. Best of luck!
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/17/2011
Click to View More Answers:
12 3 4 5 Free Legal QuestionsConnect with a local attorney