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How the children decision can lead to divorce

When you are engaged and planning your wedding, it is generally a very exciting time. Once the date has been set, invitations sent and RSVPs received, it usually takes a very significant issue to derail your upcoming nuptials. So many couples, upon learning something about their future spouse that would normally be classified as a 'deal-breaker,' choose to ignore that detail with the (often misguided) belief that love can overcome all, and that they will be able to work it out after the wedding.

Unfortunately, as many of our Atlanta readers know, that is not always the case, and what was considered a minor detail pre-marriage can easily become the insurmountable issue that ultimately leads to divorce. One common example is children. Before the wedding, when kids are far in the future, it's easy to overlook a disagreement on whether to have children. But a few years into marriage, when it becomes clear that you and your spouse are in complete disagreement and neither of you will ever budge, children can suddenly become the source of many problems.

Most family law attorneys are in agreement that it is important to talk about children before you get married. And don't have the conversation in vague terms, but go into detail, discussing how many kids you want to have and how they should be spaced, child care, whether both parents will continue to work and the like. Finances should also be part of the conversation - according to a recent federal report, a middle-income family can now expect to spend nearly $300,000 to raise a child from birth to age 17.

If you and your spouse are unable to reach an agreement on all child-related issues before heading to the altar, however, that is probably okay. If you have had meaningful discussions and are aware of the other's wants and opinions, your marriage is more likely to survive the children decision.

Source: Washington Post, "Divorce attorneys, therapists: Closing the deal on kids before marriage not always realistic," Aug. 20, 2012

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