Friday, August 8, 2014

A Divorce Lawyer's Commentary on Love and Marriage and Not Seeking My Services

This post is certainly out of the ordinary for me and some of my fellow divorce lawyers may not agree that I should even delve into this issue. Oh well...

I often tell clients and prospective clients that my role is purely as a legal professional and that I am NOT a counselor, therapist or psychologist. While I will seek a resolution of the case when circumstances and spouses allow, my main job is to fight like hell for my client. But in divorce cases, the battle is waged between two parties who are so interconnected that in many ways, they each battle themselves and suffer the very same injuries they cause their spouse. It's not generally pretty and divorce is probably one of biggest decisions that come along in adulthood.

But, if someone is emotionally unsure about whether they want to get a divorce, then a divorce lawyer is the last person to talk to about it. Some of the hardest cases I have handled have not been the nasty, mean-spirited divorces. In those cases, no matter what happens, separation and divorce of the spouses was best for all concerned. The worst cases are the divorces that should never have occurred. Those are the sad ones. I am particularly thinking of a divorce I did for an elderly woman who had a bad fight with her second husband that she loved, got bad advice from her initial attorney about protecting her already non-marital assets, and filed for divorce. When I finally got into the case and could tell she really didn't want a divorce, it was too late for her. The battle lines were drawn and they had each passed a point of no return.

Before you go down the road of divorcing your spouse, make sure you have exhausted all avenues of repair. I was recently referred to a great article on love and marriage (see below). But if you can't get there without a push, then for any long-term marriage or any marriage where there are minor children, no divorce start without some sort of marriage counseling. One of the only times this advice should not be considered is where you need a court to stop some activity (such as abuse or the spending/wasting/transferring of assets) that might not be able to be un-done.

Anyway, this was an excellent read and actually pretty practical : "Hold Me Tight", By Sue Johnson, published on January 01, 2009. My psychologist cousin posted this article with the phrase "not your usual crap".

If you are looking for a therapist, counselor or psychologist, a good resource is Psychology Today.