The Most Common Question We Re Asked In The Initial Consultation For Divorce
My name is Dave Meier. I’m a divorce attorney with the law firm of Sjoberg and Tebelius. And we’re located in the city of Woodbury.
I have been asked over and over at social settings, in just regular conversation, “What is the most common question “asked of me as a divorce attorney?” And the answer has been the same for years. The question I get is, “Why?” Not, “How long will it take?” Or, “How do I win?” Or even, “How much will it cost?”
Rather the question I’m asked is, “Why is she leaving me?” Or maybe, “Why doesn’t she love me anymore?” Those are fair questions but they’re not ones that have easy answers. In fact, clients often come to the realization that their spouses don’t really know why. People feel things. People lose hope. They lose hope that their struggling marriage will ever get better. They lose hope that they will ever be truly loved. They lose hope they’re even worthy of love.
People need hope and the easy solution for many is to throw away that which is not working and move forward with a new chapter in their life. A chapter without the person they believe is a source of, or at least a major contributor to their sadness. And to make matters worse, the client who is served with the divorce papers focuses on the rejection. They become defensive. Then the parties take shots at one another in an attempt to soften the blow of that rejection. It’s commonplace. Sadness, losing hope, rejection and self-defense prevent people from making a true examination of themselves and prevent people from listening to their spouse.
So the battle begins. Everyone is wrong. The truth is in most cases both parties have made mistakes. Both parties have failed to love and respect their spouse to some degree or another. And with divorce papers and the associated complaints about the other person comes anger and retaliation. My hope is for married people to ask the question, “Am I doing my part to support and love my spouse “and have I communicated to my spouse “what I need and why I’m not happy?”
Way before the commencement of the divorce proceedings. But assuming the conversation is no longer possible, or because of physical abuse is no longer reasonable, we are now in the beginning stages of a divorce. At that point I encourage my clients to understand there may never be a great answer to the question, “Why?”
They will inevitably feel cheated but the sooner the spouse begins to accept the reality of the situation and understand a full and completely satisfying answer is most likely an impossibility, the quicker they can begin to move forward and protect themselves. Dealing with financial spreadsheets and parenting time schedules is the legal work of the attorney. Dealing with rejection and learning to move forward despite that rejection is the emotional work of the client.