The holiday season is typically quiet for divorce lawyers. And that is a good thing. People try their best to make peace for the holidays and to give their marriage and family situations another chance. Of course there are a host of problems which arise with the holidays including visitation confusion, failure to provide support and other issues which can make for a more difficult holiday season, but generally fewer people initiate divorce proceedings around this holiday season.
Unfortunately, after every holiday season, we become inundated with inquiries and requests for consultations. Often it was already planned but delayed to make the holidays better, or less difficult for the kids. Sometimes it is the desire to be sure to have a change in place by the next holiday season. And sometimes it's just the final attempt at happiness after everything else has not worked.
So what do we do? We handle it. It's what divorce professionals do and despite how depressing it can be at times, if we do our job well, we reduce the pain and aggravation somewhat. We let our clients vent to us before explaining how courts will not reward their suffering with millions of dollars. We try to gently explain that if the court must be involved, the court's efforts will be directed at finding a financial solution and creating a parenting plan that allows the children to have as much access to quality parents as possible. And perhaps most importantly, we let them know that there is almost no way the court can do as good a job as parents can if they truly work together on it. Regardless of how angry someone may be at their partner, they still know their family situation much better than the court ever will. They also will care much more about their own situation than the court possibly can. Yes, judges care and will do their best, however in a one day or one week trial, the court will never understand the entire complex details of a multi-year relationship. And our job is to make it clear to our clients that such is the case.
Unfortunately, it takes two willing partners to negotiate a resolution. It also takes cooperative lawyers. But one obstinate party or lawyer can result in the whole matter being thrown before the court and then the result is almost certain to be less than ideal. So if you know anyone going through this, I urge you to ask them to work as hard as possible to craft their own solution to their family law issue. There are occasions when a court ordered result is even better than the parties could have crafted (at least for one side), but those results are few and far between. Court ordered results (a trial), should be our last, not first, resort.