301 865-1101

Observations on Custody Issues Part 2 (Why do marriages fail?)

As a custody and divorce lawyer in Frederick, it never ceases to amaze me that when I give a presentation, a class or a seminar on divorce and custody, it always comes down to questions and answers. I get asked the following questions time after time. Men always ask “doesn’t the mother always get custody?” Women always ask “why do most marriages fail?”

I can tell you as a Frederick divorce and custody lawyer that everything I comment upon is a clear pattern. These are of course just MY observations, not a study or a survey. That being said, seventeen (17) years as a lawyer handling between sixty five (65) to one hundred (100) divorce and custody cases per year? That’s a significant sample. You may find my answers are matter of fact and unambiguous. They are. This is what I have seen for what I estimate is four thousand (4,000) days in divorce and custody court. Furthermore, these patterns are consistent with the patterns other Frederick divorce and custody lawyers have seen. What I do not claim to know is; what do the answers really mean?

“Why do most marriages fail?” That also begs an unambiguous answer: Adultery. Not even a close second. While we have to face the fact that this is the most common reason for divorce, it’s not the most common grounds for divorce. Mutual and voluntary separation for over one year is the most common grounds divorces are awarded upon. Huh?

As a Frederick divorce and custody lawyer i observe that It tends to work like this: after a period of kicking and screaming most people get divorced by agreement. They both eventually want it. So, the most common reason a divorce is granted is based upon the parties being separated for over a year.

Commonly, a divorce based on a “mutual” and “voluntary” separation usually only became “mutual” or “voluntary” after the aggrieved party got used to the idea of being divorced or reached the conclusion “I’m better off without (him/her).” Adultery is so commonly at the heart of a divorce, that frederick custody and divorce lawyers just presume somebody in the picture had or is having an affair.

The signs are different with some variation on the themes: “my spouse works late…my spouse travels alot for work…my spouse is spending more time out with friends…my spouse spends alot of time on the computer.” That being said ,I could not possibly spell out all of the signs I have seen over the years.

Nor, have I found a smoking gun that proves an adultery the majority of the time. What I can say is that intuition is always right. You can count on it like gravity. A mantra spoken to me by a senior divorce lawyer many years ago was: “if you think your spouse is faithful, you may be right.” “If you think your spouse is cheating, you are always right.” Each year I find this mantra to be more, and more, and more true.

At the end of the day, it’s a chicken or the egg question. Did the adultery occur and lead to distance in the marriage, or did distance in the marriage lead to the adultery? Someday, when I am sitting on a beach, I may consider how the causal relationship plays out. I may investigate whether what I have seen as a Frederick custody and divorce lawyer is reflective of the whole state or even the whole country. I may also find I have better things to think about. For the moment, I only offer these observations.

Timothy Conlon, Esq.  The Custody Place.

The Custody Place




322 West Patrick Street #201