Guiding You Through Divorce

DivorceLast month I wrote about all of the Paperwork involved in finishing up a divorce. Among the things you must do is visit with an Estate Planning attorney. Mr. Bailey’s article this month will cover that. I also suggest that you visit with a counselor. Whether secular or a practitioner of a faith tradition I believe counseling is very important in divorce. In fact it is probably just as important as in times of death. Research tells us that the grief is the same in the ending of a marriage as in a death.

An attorney and client relationship is unique. It involves a special trust. The attorney is charged with carrying out (within the bounds of the law) the client’s wishes. But we are also charged with COUNSELING the client. What I have learned over the course of my practice is when you’re grieving you don’t make very good decisions. Things that wouldn’t ordinarily bother you are suddenly over-whelming. I honestly think that is one of the reasons for having an attorney. Yes, we went to school for a really long time to study and learn “The Rules.” But we aren’t emotionally tied up in the case. This is important. It allows us to examine the case dispassionately, and thus, offer you advice based on the law as applied to the facts and not merely what the client may want to hear.

Among the issues, and the reason I suggest a counselor when going through a divorce is sometimes a litigant is tempted to seek their “pound of flesh” from the opposing party for some perceived (or even very real) wrongdoing. My practice has taught me that is a VERY BAD IDEA. Forgive. Forgive till it hurts. Be generous. Assume an innocent explanation whenever your soon to be ex does something you don’t like. IF YOU HAVE CHILDREN YOU ARE TIED TO EACH OTHER FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIVES. Whatever manner you speak of or treat your Ex, your child WILL notice. And they will either love you for loving their mother/father or they will hate you for hating their mother/father. Don’t believe me? Check with any Mental Health practitioner.

When deciding on an attorney to help you with ending your marriage, speak to them about their philosophy. Does the attorney practice primarily family law? I can assure you a lawsuit between a couple of companies is a very different animal than a divorce. The entire course of the litigation is different. Something else to consider is does the attorney practice where your case is pending. I have practiced in Tarrant and Dallas Counties and several of the surrounding counties. Each of the counties are different, sometimes vastly different. Something that might be a good idea in Tarrant County would be a very bad idea in Dallas, or Ellis, or Johnson County.

Interview attorneys. Make sure they have a similar philosophy. Make sure they practice primarily in Family Law. Make sure they practice in the courts where your case is pending or will be filed. LISTEN TO THEIR ADVICE. Then go interview counselors to help you deal with the emotional issues involved with a divorce.

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