Getting divorced? Don’t divorce your family – or your values

Us family law attorneys have a saying: criminal lawyers see bad people at their best and family law attorneys see good people at their worst. It’s true – divorce can turn the kindest person into a bit of a monster.

Indeed, it’s tough for even the attorneys to keep their distance from such extreme, deep emotion, hurt and anger. The legal system is no help – in fact, it encourages the hostility. The premise of the system itself, a winner and a loser, prolongs and perpetuates the conflict.

What is too often lost in the shuffle are the victims of divorce: the children. They get enmeshed in the arguments and even the court battles, whether explicitly or just because they live with the combatants. Children of divorce struggle mightily – and silently – and their needs should be more front and center in our system.

I came across an article recently, entitled “Ending your marriage should not end your family,” and while it’s five years old, it’s still pertinent today.

There is a better way. You don’t have to fight as hard as you can and spend $100,000 on legal fees. Your personal hurt and anger should not be played out in court. Talk to a therapist and work it out there. Take advantage of alternative dispute resolution like mediation. Take a deep breath and sleep on it for a night – or two or ten – before filing that motion just to get revenge. It will be worth it in the long run to you AND your family.

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