Dealing with the Emotional Aspects of Divorce During the Legal Process
Divorce is an all around unpleasant experience. There are two categories that divorces typically fall into: The “we aren’t in love anymore we should go our separate ways” divorce; and the, “I can’t stand to look at your face, hear your voice, or be in your presence for one more second of my life” divorce. Sadly, many of today’s divorces fall into the latter category, which can be, and often is, a gut-wrenching emotional nightmare.
The “Let’s Go our Separate Ways” Divorce
Because of the level of the civility in the “separate ways” divorce, it does not make for very interesting reading material. These are generally two people, who have the ability to communicate on a meaningful level, and instead of devolving into explosive arguments wherever issues arise, calmly and rationally discuss the issue, come to a resolution and employ it. Problem solved, easy. These same people handle the idea of divorce with the same level of diplomacy. My years of experience as a divorce attorney has made one thing abundantly clear, those types of marital relationships are about as common as a Halley’s comet. On the other hand, the “I can’t stand you divorce” is extremely common, and most of us, unfortunately, fall into this category.
The Ugly Divorce
The causes of the ugly divorce are many, to name a few, cheating spouses, money problems, drug, alcohol, physical or mental abuse, poor communication, mid-life crises; the grass is greener theory and the list goes on and on. The bottom line is that when the crossroads of the relationship have been reached, either one or both of the spouses are devastated or exasperated. Despite the existence of one or more of the above referenced issues, many couples often try to tough out a marriage, “for the kids.” The reality is that this is often the wrong thing to do because there is nothing more miserable for children than to be exposed to a loveless marriage, where either the mother and father argue constantly, in front of them or behind closed doors, or they don’t speak to each other except if necessary. Both situations create an awful environment for the kids and if the kids are old enough to know better, they will welcome the marriage ending, despite what the parents may think.
How Emotions Affect Your Case
As a divorce attorney, I believe that seventy percent of my job is really pseudo-psychiatrist and thirty percent is attorney. Divorce is such an emotional rollercoaster, with peaks and valleys of anger, resentment, sadness, confusion and bitterness, that it is often difficult to get the parties to focus on the issues that may actually exist once the emotions are stripped away from the proceedings.
Because of the overall air of failure that surrounds divorce, it is natural and expected that one or both of the parties will find it to be an awful experience. I always guide my clients by instructing them to allow themselves to grieve, because it is a death of sorts, but to also be aware that often times it is a business transaction, wherein emotions should be checked at the door. Allowing your emotions to cloud your judgment is a major mistake and ultimately could cost you in a divorce. Judges lean towards the middle in divorce cases, meaning that his goal is not to make either party happy but to end it as equally as possible. If you go into a divorce with the revenge theory, where your going to take the other spouse for everything they have because they cheated on you, you are going to walk out of the courtroom gravely disappointed. Illinois is a no fault state, and Judges do not consider misdeeds during the marriage when determining issues such as maintenance and child support. A good attorney will guide you through the process, reminding you of these things as you proceed.
Although, divorce can be a devastating experience, there is one thing that I can tell you for certain. You will survive.