“What has divorce turned me into?”
The question above was posed to me by an embittered client. It’s an understatement to say divorce constitutes a complicated bundle of issues and emotions. Upon completing their divorces several clients have expressed to me they felt a “death” at the end of the process. Divorce is truly a profound loss… of love, hope, innocence and dreams once held.
I have had the good fortune over the last 15 years to help individuals during the roughest points in their lives. I have watched them selflessly smile at their children’s birthday parties while standing next to the spouse who left them. I admire clients who can work in stressful professions, parent well, and simultaneously endure the stress and anger of divorce. They have taught me about strength, love, adversity, honesty and so many positive aspects of life. Indeed, my clients have made me a better and more tolerant person, and unquestionably a better parent, and I am grateful.
I try to counsel my divorcing clients to not let the fear, animosity, betrayal and anxiety get the best of them. Letting anger rule inevitably results in more protracted, costly and emotionally exhausting litigation. Clients who decide to face divorce fairly and honestly, while reasonably cooperating in litigation, experience reduced legal fees. They also often achieve a result substantially similar to that produced by the costly and drawn out litigation that results when the parties refuse to settle. Except without all the extra legal fees and stress.
Divorce presents choices. Individuals involved in divorce need to choose whether to have the pain, loss and anger of divorce define them, or to define how they will approach divorce.