My principle livelihood has been as a divorce lawyer. Many people consider this to be a dirty job, either because the people we work with have dirty lives, or because the way attorneys who work with them are themselves dirty. There may be a measure of truth in each interpretation. When I first started working in family law, a time in my career in which I knew little about what I was doing, it was perhaps much more true than it is today.
I no longer see people who divorce as living dirty lives, and that has more to do with my personal evolution than anything else. More so, the attorneys with whom I now work no longer occur as professionals who practice dirty dealing. Insight comes from intensely looking inward.
I realize that it is a huge disservice to pigeonhole people into preconceived opinions, and that applies equally to couples I work with and to the professionals who practice law with me.
Henry David Thoreau is quoted as saying, “The question is not what you look at, but what you see.” So, you might say my vision has been corrected.
There still are divorcing people and divorce professionals who exemplify the worst among us, but they are few and far between in my world. Even with the struggle for some people to rise above the challenges life presents, most of the couples I work with are basically good people, even when deeply hurt and damaged by the loss of their marriage. There still are people who betrayed their marriage vows, and those who are driven solely by fear, anger guilt and revenge. They are the exceptions and not the rule.
Growing numbers of couples seek out the work we do specifically because they wish to avoid the scorched earth of a painfully litigated divorce. There are more couples who wish to walk the high road and who bring the empathy and compassion needed to move through challenging and difficult circumstances to do the right thing.
As professionals, counselors and mentors we cannot give wisdom to people in conflict. We can only offer an approach that honors the dignity of each party and a respect for the sanctity of their family. We can share the possibility that exists for something that is often only seen as illness, an affliction, or a scourge, as something that also contains the seeds of healing and the opportunity to arrive at a better place, stronger for the unwanted event.
We are told by doctors that when we suffer a broken bone, the bone most often heals stronger than it was before the break. We hear counterintuitive testimonials how a broken heart can be the only heart worth having. We can read about how some now identify devastating medical conditions as a sacred illnesses, that can bring us to a higher functioning place with a greater purpose for living.
Some of us come to realize that we are the authors of our own life stories, and we do not have to rely upon other people’s narratives of how we should define our personal experiences.
Collaborative family practice is a new paradigm in the practice of family law, born out of the vision of a small group of attorneys and other professionals in Minnesota that began in 1990. It offers the possibility to any who chose to hire professionals who can keep them out of the old adversarial model that ceded control of their divorce to attorneys and judges. This profound concept has now spread world wide.
Contact any collaborative professional to find out more about how can be empowered to write your own story about how the end of your marriage occurs.Tagged with: healthy divorce • Mindfulness • peaceful divorce