Writing a Marital History for Your Lawyer

iStock_000019293891_SmallYou write a marital history for your lawyer so that they will be aware of what potential complications may arise as they guide you through the process. A good marital history should cover why your marriage worked, why it didn’t work, what outside influences hurt your marriage, and barriers your lawyer may run into with resolving the divorce as painlessly as possible. You must tell your lawyer everything, as they are only equipped to help you navigate through complications if they are well informed. The following is a partially comprehensive guide to writing a marital history.

The Relationship

Start at the beginning. Recounting memories may be difficult, but your lawyer must see how far back your marital issues go. Make it brief and relatively detail free, but discuss what you both disagreed on in the beginning of your relationship, even before you got married. You’ll also want to delve into each of your family’s and friend’s involvement in your lives during your relationship. Did you get along with your spouse’s family and friends? Did they get along with yours? Why and why not?

When did you and your spouse began to experience the major issues that ultimately resulted in the divorce? Were there any major events, such as the death of a family member or the loss of a job that influence your decision? Did you ever go through couple’s therapy, or another means to resolve your differences?

The Children

If there are children involved in the divorce settlement, explain your and your spouse’s relationship to the kids. Tell your lawyer how they are handling the divorce, what kind of personalities they have, what their emotional and educational needs are, what you envision they will need from you in the future. Who is the primary caregiver? Who makes all of the important decisions, like school, medical appointments, and savings for your children? Which grandparents took an active role in your children’s lives?

Cover whether or not you had conflict with your children, or if your spouse did, such as religious beliefs, and behavioral issues. What was the nature of most of your disagreements with your children, how did you resolved them, and how did your children react? Your lawyer needs an accurate history, so above all be truthful.

Employment and Education

If you or your spouse have invested in either’s education, explain how this came about, how much was invested, and how that education now affects theirs and your life. Fully brief your lawyer on yours and your spouse’s employment history, and how this has affected your joint finances. Detail who has made more money over the years, and what percentage of each’s income pays the bills.


How is financial responsibility divided? How and for what have you saved money? What was the nature of your financial conflicts? Is there significant debt? Is there inheritance coming from either spouse’s family?

Fully answering these questions will greatly help your divorce, but a good lawyer is also essential to the settlement.

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