Let's Be Reasonable!
February 28th, 2020
Contributor: Edward P. Jurkiewicz
In divorce cases being reasonable is a strength, not a weakness. It's an old saying among lawyers that "good people do well" in such cases. Let's unpack this as a series of (possibly) inconvenient truths....
If you are going through a divorce this is one of the worst times of your life. You need catharsis, on a couple of levels. For some, emotional catharsis will come when the gavel falls and your divorce is final. Great. For others, emotional catharsis will come in the fullness of time.
Understand, though, that the legal system is not built to provide this. Assertiveness is one thing, being confrontational is another. Arguing and slinging accusations verbally or through social media will not get you anywhere. It will just prolong your case, and make it more painful and expensive than it has to be.
Such behavior may also negatively affect the financial outcome of your case. In my experience, judges, mediators and others involved in the judicial system really try their best to be impartial, and they are very good at separating substance from appearance. But they are also human beings who perceive and react. And have a lot of discretion to make decisions that will affect your future. Like it or not (and who would?) you will be under a microscope for a few months. You should put your best foot forward, be the best possible version of yourself. It's possible your spouse can't, or won't. Let them.
There is no single, sure-fire way to eliminate the trauma of divorce. Generally, mediation is better if possible, but some become more stressful than many so-called "adversarial" divorces. It is important to know that there are many alternatives for effectively and professionally resolving your case. And there are positive ways to calm yourself and clear your head, like mindfulness meditation and yoga.
Most important of all, in my view, is cultivating your capacity to be reasonable during this trying time.