By Pamela Edwards-Swift, CFLS
If you read the newspapers and listen to the negative media, you begin to wonder how you can even get up in the morning. What’s the point? You can’t afford to buy gas for your car to get to work; when you get to work you’re worried that your boss is going to lay you off because business is slow; and, then when you get home you have to face the spouse you once vowed to love “till death do you part” but now can’t stand the site of him/her. You’re in a rut and don’t know what to do. You love your kids and don’t want them to go through a divorce. What do you do?
This may sound strange coming from someone who makes their living helping people through the divorce process, but what you do is work on the marriage. The cost of gas and viability of the job are, for the most part, out of your control. On the other hand, your marriage, and whether it survives or not, is within your control. Unfortunately, our society has made it very simple to end a marriage. All that it takes is one person to say “I want out.” That’s all. The exact phrase used in court is “irreconcilable differences have lead to the irremediable breakdown of the marriage.”
You need to think, what will a divorce solve? You’ll still have the same problems with the cost of gas and worrying about your job. But, now those problems will be compounded. One, you’ll have less money for that gas because you’re having to support two households, instead of one. Next, your job is in further jeopardy because you will lose time at work having to go to court. Last, during your custodial time periods with your children, you will be solely responsible for their care. There will be no one there to assist with their care and needs.
So assuming your relationship is not physically or mentally abusive, find a way to work it out. Talk to your pastor, rabbi, etc. Go to a marriage counselor. If your spouse refuses to go with you, go anyway. Do something, and remember, the grass on the other side of the fence is not necessarily greener and the economy will recover at some point.
However, if you really have tried to save the marriage and divorce is imminent, make certain you choose an attorney wisely. Find someone you’re comfortable with, who answers your questions honestly and doesn’t just tell you what you want to hear, who devotes their practice exclusively to family law, and better yet is a certified specialist.
Pamela Edwards-Swift, Certified Family Law Specialist, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 & 2014; Southern California Super Lawyer