The New Normal – a look at divorce from the inside.
Every day, we get calls from people looking for advice on divorce and family law. To the people we talk with, the entire experience is new and bewildering. To us, it’s well, another day at the office. Because of this uncertainty and newness of the process, what is legally insignificant seems more important then it is. While the things we attorneys know to be legally important, are sometimes ignored by the client. Notice, I used the term “legally”.
That is where the disconnect comes from. Issues which are emotionally important to you, may well not be important to the judge. As a result, the lawyer and the client can sometimes be talking at cross-purposes. What is important to the lawyer may not important to the client, and what is important to client may not important to the lawyer.
For a person who has been cheated upon, it is very difficult to accept that under the law, adultery will have zero impact on property rights or even custody issues. It is even harder to explain to a person who has been abused, that unless her husband tried to actually kill her, it is highly unlikely that the court will give her more property in the divorce.
I have been thinking about this problem for years and have worked to understand what the client is going through, and at the same time to explain the legal process of divorce to the client.
The problem is not helped by the enormous amount of misinformation out there. From movies, television, novels, talks shows and the internet, the level of misinformation is criminal. The wrong information creates false and unrealistic impressions of the process. Often, we spend a lot of time trying undo the damage of the misinformation so that we can get our client on the right track.
To that end, I have written a fictionalized account of the divorce process. It is a dual novel, taking two stories, first of Greg who is going through his own divorce with an adulterous wife, and that of Sharon who struggles with being an abused wife. This is fiction and not based on any client, but is formed from my experience from being a lawyer since 1986. From time to time I will post more chapters. Hopefully, this novel will help people under the process from the inside.
The book is called “The New Normal,” because I want my clients to understand that divorce is a dividing line in their lives. What happened before is over. They must create a new life across this divide, which is the new normal.