What Do Lawyers Do When They Divorce?

When lawyers divorce, most try to stay out of court. Even though they may have an advantage over their non-lawyer spouse, they try everything to settle the case before the judge is placed in the position of having to make decisions for them and their families.

People, like lawyers, who understand the judicial system resist the inclination to fight. Going to court is a losing proposition since it wastes energy, time and money. Court is the last alternative when there is no other choice and you feel you must relinquish your power to a judge.

Court is not what is portrayed in movies or on television where justice is shown as quick, predictable and certain. Quite the opposite. Relying on a judge to make family decisions for you destroys your chances of developing a healthy negotiating style with your spouse or partner. Everyone leaves litigation feeling frustrated, disillusioned and poorer.

Lawyers know that statistically 98% of filed divorce cases settle before trial. Does it make sense to spend tens of thousands of dollars and many months preparing for an event that statistically is very unlikely to happen? Wouldn't it be smart to put your time, energy and money into reaching an early settlement?

What about the injustices, the dishonesty, the betrayal, the adultery, the pain, the unfairness, the lies, lost assets and opportunities? Lawyers know that this pain and these emotions are not going to change the outcome in the court. The judge is required to listen to the facts and apply the law to reach an outcome. While a good judge will acknowledge the pain and other injustices for one party, the judge will likely not change his/her decision based on how much one party (or both) is hurting.

Many clients expect that when a judge hears their story, the judge will provide them with the justice that their spouse denied them during the marriage. The judge cannot change the past and rewrite history.

Litigation also requires the parties to hang onto the past and relive it, rather than focus on the future and what is needed to get on with their lives.

How do lawyers handle the pain and their emotions? They work with mental health professionals who are trained to help them work through these emotions, put them behind them and then look forward to building a more successful future.

To lawyers, a truly successful divorce case is one where the parties understand that they must work together in the future. Using a process that results in them being enemies is not helpful personally or for their families. Instead they rely on other professionals who help them deal with their emotions constructively (mental health professionals), organize their finances (accountants and financial planners) and they follow the advice of their lawyers. They try to build the infrastructure that allows them and their families to work together with as little conflict as possible in the future.