Shattered Dreams and the Nasty Divorce

Not all shattered dreams have to lead to a nasty, ugly divorce in North Texas. It is true that, even though your highest hopes and expectations of living happily ever after have been obliterated, keeping your calm and cool through the separation and division of property and children is paramount to coming out much happier on the other side.

Here’s an example of what I mean: Husband and Wife have three children together after being married 15 years. The Wife, now has another child on the way, but this one is not the Husband’s! That’s right, the Husband’s dreams have been shattered, and he’s rightfully upset and indignant over the whole mess of his wife’s infidelity. After all, they were the poster family at their church, PTA, and country club. What a kick to the stomach this is for the Husband and the kids.

Right about now, I can hear all the suggestions Husband must be getting from friends, family, co-workers, and bar buddies. Kick her to the curb! Teach her a lesson! Make sure she doesn’t end up with a dime! We can all imagine it even worse. Who knows, he might very well be entitled to think, feel, and act out those suggestions. Maybe she deserves it. Who’s to say?

So what actions should Husband take now? Sue Wife for divorce, asking for her to pay all attorneys’ fees (which will be exorbitant) and give up most of the marital estate as punishment for her adultery and inappropriate conduct? Plead to a jury that such an awful, heartless adulterer could never be a good parent ever again (even though she was Mom-of-the-year every year prior)? He certainly could take this approach. He might not win everything, but he has grounds.

Stepping back and assessing this from a distance may allow a better thought process. Consider that the couple’s three children will always have the Wife as their mother (for the rest of their lives). The wife will also be having a half-sibling to all of these three children. Should they be mortal enemies just because the Wife made a mistake and the Husband compounded the mistake by acting venomously? Assume Husband has made no mistakes (for the sake of argument!). No, they should be normal, modern siblings and half-siblings. Could Husband be doing an injustice to his own kids by punishing Wife and causing her additional pain and financial troubles?

I believe the best approach is to preserve what you can out of the marriage. The kids will learn about and always know what their mother did, and they will have that to contend with all their lives. The kids will probably always love their mother, and being a bad Wife doesn’t usually change that. Knowing that, why would Husband then try to ruin the Wife’s chances of future success with their children and in the Wife’s new life? My answer is he shouldn’t.

There are ways to proceed through a divorce without scorching the earth beneath the Wife and the Husband. Good lawyers have been doing this for many years, even though the public foremost see the quick fix is to head to the Courthouse to fix the noose around the other spouse’s neck and never let up from there. We have many options to settle divorce cases without relying on the courts, such as mediation, private judging, arbitration, collaborative methods, and other cooperative means.

I know in our firm, we access all of these options on a regular basis. Our lawyers have special skills and experience in these available options, having pertinent experience and good outcomes in each of the respective areas. The collaborative and cooperative options, along with mediation, are my favorite of the bunch. I appreciate and see the positive outcomes when the parties agree to voluntarily disclose everything, agree to sit down and meet individually, as a group gather all the info needed, build options together for dividing and separating what the marriage accumulated, and forming an agreement around the idea of each party’s goals and desires for a more positive outcome.

So in the course of being blindsided by your spouse, kicked when you’re down, spat upon by those around you, and trying to pick up the pieces of a marriage that is over, step back and think through what your immediate actions might bring to you and your family. Choose your lawyer wisely and inquire about the methods that the firm uses on a regular basis. Proceed wisely.

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