As divorce attorneys, we’ve seen plenty of marriages end. We know what it takes to break a relationship. Sometimes, all it takes is finding out your spouse voted for a former reality show star.
So when our fellow attorneys start giving out dating advice, we can’t help but take pause. Who are we to talk? We're the same people who have seen relationships crumble! But we actually think there are some insights that divorce attorneys can offer when it comes to dating.
Gathered here are divorce attorneys’ nuggets of dating wisdom collated by BuzzFeed. Heed their advice at your own risk.
Men should always pay on the first date
In a TikTok post, family lawyer Justin Lee said that men should always pay for the first date. That way, he said, you immediately find out if your date, who you might end up marrying, has a real sense of entitlement, thereby revealing their true nature. He paints a scenario where a man pulls out his wallet to offer to pay and then sees if the woman will offer to pay. If she doesn’t, she is not The One.
We don’t fully agree with this. First dates typically last an hour or two, which is not enough time to get to know a person’s true nature. We also don’t think this is the best way to measure a person’s character. And we certainly don’t think that if the woman offers to pay on the first date and they end up getting married, they wouldn’t get divorced.
Nevertheless, if you want to follow Mr. Lee’s advice, it’s best to choose a mid-range, reasonably priced restaurant every time. That way, you can easily pay for two and still have money left for dessert and your date’s Uber if she really isn’t the type to pay for anything.
Another money-related dating advice from several family lawyers goes: don’t avoid financial discussions. This advice is for those who’ve gone past the first and second dates. The attorneys pointed out that it may be smart to start having deep conversations such as those involving finances. That is, once you and the person you swiped right on Tinder start getting serious.
You’d probably be cautious if a non-lawyer gives you the same advice. But coming from divorce lawyers, this advice is gold.
Money issues ranked among the leading causes of divorce. So if you are going out with someone and have become comfortable talking about who pays for dinner, talking finances should be on the table once you and your potential Mr./Ms. Right start talking about settling down.
You may not know someone’s attitude toward money on the first or second date. But if you have gone on 50 dates with them and are considering tying the knot, you would want to know if your potential spouse is a big spender or a spendthrift.
Communicate, communicate, communicate
A divorce lawyer in Toronto strongly advocated communicating a lot. The lawyer didn’t mean talking endlessly while out on a date but laying a good foundation for open, honest communication. That means speaking up when a conflict is brewing, not cutting off someone who is speaking, and being a good listener.
A lack of communication can destroy a relationship. So we agree with this advice. If you’re seeing someone, having deep, meaningful conversations with them beyond choosing a place to have dinner can do wonders for you.
If you end up marrying someone who avoids communication or is a terrible communicator, you could expect to experience problems along the way, such as during divorce settlement discussions.
Don’t be with someone vicious
The unnamed lawyer who gave this advice said he had seen so many couples treat negotiations as a way to settle scores, and he recommended not marrying a vicious person you wouldn’t want to fight in a divorce court.
This is great advice. Someone who is rude to waitstaff and strangers is highly likely to unleash their vicious streak on you if you find yourself at the receiving end of their next attack.
Treat prenup as a form of insurance
The lawyer who offered this advice added that people shouldn’t see a prenuptial agreement as a foreboding omen that the marriage will fail but as a form of insurance. We could not have said it better.
To prenup or not to prenup?: Saying I do (or I don’t) to a prenuptial agreement: the basics
And we can’t believe we’re saying this, but Kim Kardashian made a valid point when she said that everybody needs a prenup. Of course, there are exceptions. Some divorce lawyers have even made a good case about how prenups may fail to take into account a spouse’s non-financial contributions such as making a home and raising children.
As attorneys, however, all we can say is that: prenup = good. Signing a prenup tends to do more good than harm. But what does a premarital agreement have to do with dating, you ask?
For one, you could go out on a date with someone who has strong opinions about divorce or just about anything. If the person is against prenups for no reason, then that should raise a red flag. Disregard this advice if you are only on Tinder for casual hookups and have never encountered the term prenup.
These pieces of advice may as well have come from dating coaches/gurus. But be cautious about following these or any “advice” you read on BuzzFeed, Reddit, or any corner of the internet. If you need legal advice on your divorce case in Washington State, Buckingham, LaGrandeur, & Williams are the team to call. Contact us today.