Skip to main content

The Perfect Divorce: Does it Exist?

NO.

That was easy, next blog post... No, you want more than that? Okay:

Divorce is by definition about the failure of a plan. You got married, you took vows, and it didn't work out. Whether or not you are about assigning blame (and there is usually enough to go around), divorce is about picking up the pieces of a failure. Accepting that disappointment is as important a step in moving on as accepting that the marriage was over in the first place.

If you take that failure personally, you should discuss those feelings with friends, family or a professional therapist. You shouldn't ignore them because you need to find a way to move past them in order to deal with the practical realities of dividing up a marital life.

With respect to finances, divorce means dividing up a business partnership, and there is no perfect or ideal way to do this. In Massachusetts, the court can consider numerous factors in how to do this (M.G.L. c. 208 s34), but in practice most cases settle, and they settle based on what both parties can live with. You won't get everything you want, but neither will the other side.

With respect to children, even if you do the best you can parenting apart is never ideal. In many situations and for many relationships it may be better than parenting together, but even the best parents can't undue the loss a child feels when their parents break up. I was reminded of this when reading a simple quote from an interview with Jack Black in the Guardian, in which he matter-of-factly indicates that his parents divorced and as a kid the simple fact "that they can't live with each other makes you feel there's something wrong with you." In many ways parenting is about doing your best with what you have anyway, and no where is this more true than in parenting apart. You can educate yourself and make the best of it, and minimize the trauma on your children. But to do that you have to first accept that this situation is not perfect, and find ways to compensate.

At the end of the day, realizing that there is no perfect divorce is an important step in figuring out how to look at the future rather than dwell on the failures of the past. Sometimes the cliché is true: whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

What is the purpose of the Divorce Nisi waiting period?

In Massachusetts the statutory waiting period after a Judgment of Divorce and before the divorce becomes final (or absolute) is called the Nisi period. After a divorce case settles or goes to trial, a Judgment of Divorce Nisi will issue and it will become Absolute after a further ninety (90) days. This waiting period serves the purpose of allowing parties to change their mind before the divorce becomes final. If the Judgment of Divorce Nisi has issued but not become final yet, and you and your spouse decide you don't want to get divorced, then you can file a Motion to Dismiss and the Judgment will be undone. Although many of my clients who are getting divorced think the idea of getting back together with their ex sounds crazy, I have had cases where this happened. In addition to offering a grace period to change your mind, the Nisi period has three other legal effects: 1. The most obvious effect of the waiting period is that you cannot remarry during the Nisi period, be

Does a Criminal Record affect Child Custody?

If one of the parents in a custody case has a criminal record, the types of crimes on their record could have an effect on their chances of obtaining custody. In custody cases the issue is always going to come down to whether or not the best interests of the child might be affected. In the most extreme case, in which one parent has been convicted of first degree murder of the other parent, the law specifically prohibits visitation with the children until they are of a suitable age to assent. Similarly, but to a less serious degree, in making custody and visitation determinations the court will consider crimes that would cause one to question the fitness of a parent. These types of crimes would obviously include any violent crime convictions which could call into question whether the children would be in danger around a parent who has shown themselves to resort to violence when faced with conflict. In addition, drug and alcohol abuse offenses would call into question a parent&#

What happens after my Divorce Agreement is approved by a Judge?

If you filed a Joint Petition for Divorce in Massachusetts then you will participate in an uncontested divorce hearing and the Judge will then issue Findings of Fact the day of the hearing.  A Judgment of Divorce Nisi will issue after thirty (30) days, and it will become Absolute after a further ninety (90) days. This means that if you file a Joint Petition for Divorce you are not legally and officially divorced until 120 days after the divorce hearing date. If you filed a Complaint for Divorce  then your case will end either with a trial (if you don't settle) or an uncontested divorce hearing (if you settle).  If you reach an Agreement, then a Judgment of Divorce Nisi will issue and be effective as of the date of the uncontested divorce hearing, and it will become Absolute after a further ninety (90) days. This means that if you file a Complaint for Divorce you are not legally and officially divorced until 90 days after the divorce hearing date. Therefore, for 90 - 120 day