Your Divorce is Yours
By Matthew A. Breddan
Too many times people come to me and say “I want ‘X’ because my sister (brother, friend, co-worker… fill in the blank) got it”. Upon further discussion, however, I help them uncover all of the subtle differences between their case and the one they are using as the benchmark. Often, the only thing remotely consistent from one divorce to the next is the law, and even that can be interpreted differently from one courtroom to the next.
The goals of a dissolution will also vary depending upon the relative ages of the parties. For example, a younger couple might be far more interested in the “new start” and in child and spousal support. With a couple in their 30’s, there is likely to be less “fighting” over retirement accounts than if the parties are in their 50’s when retirement is more imminent.
Another huge variable is the involvement of friends and families in the participants’ life. It is one thing to provide emotional or even financial support. It is quite another to actually “stoke the fire” and demand a pound of flesh from the other party. Oftentimes, under the guise of supporting their loved ones, people can become far too aggressive and actually cause more litigation. Any family law attorney who has been practicing for more than a day has heard “My friend says he should be paying $________” or “My mother says __________”. These go back to the title of this little missive ~ “Your divorce is yours”.
The bottom line is: There is NO ‘cookie cutter’ divorce. Every matter’s fact pattern has subtle, and sometimes not so subtle, differences. These could range from the age of the children or length of the marriage (not so subtle) to the emotional state of mind of the parties involved (somewhat more subtle). Even the “facts” are likely to be disputed, which then turns back to handling the emotions. Is the dispute truly over a fact or over one party’s emotional state?
The most important question is, “What do YOU want to accomplish?” Once that threshold question is answered, the facts can be applied to the law and the client can be properly advised as to their rights and likely outcomes. The hardest thing for the family law attorney to do is to try to get the emotions at a manageable level and deal with the facts.
It is key for any family law attorney to assess the client’s needs, both stated and otherwise, prior to engaging in protracted and costly litigation. Each firm member at The Reape-Rickett Law Firm takes special care to understand the unique and individual concerns of our clients. The attorneys at The Reape-Rickett Law Firm empower our clients with knowledge and information, enabling them to make reasoned and results-oriented decisions.