Whether it’s the affair, being abandoned by a spouse, or the final break from a spouse who has used their marital position to over-power and harm–those escaping a painful marriage often have one goal.
Getting what they deserve in the settlement.
Hurt people hire attorneys to go to battle and ensure they get as much money, property, and time with the children as needed to make up for what they suffered while married. They expect the court to see the inequity and right the wrongs.
The problem? Courts can’t do this. More, they won’t.
Unable to judge between parties’ conflicting stories, judges defer to standardized guidelines that treat every situation the same and equalize the harm so no one appeals. Having spent enormous time, energy, and emotion–not to mention legal fees–to gain retribution, individuals emerge from court with more hurt and fewer resources to address the hurt.
A better question……..
How do I get what I need?
Those deeply wounded by their marriage need to move forward to something different. The best recovery comes from creating a healthy vision for that new life. Some questions those looking forward can ask themselves:
- What lifestyle do I want–do I finally move to the beach? Go back to school? Focus on a long-lost hobby?
- What work, compensated or volunteer, do I want to do?
- How do I reframe my relationships–what relationships do I want to continue? Which do I let go? Which do I begin?
As people define the details of the life they want, they then know specifically what to request from the property settlement in order to enable that vision. Whether money for school or the freedom to move to a new community, negotiations focused on specific targets tend to succeed.
An even better question…….
How do we care for the children?
Children represent the best of what a couple shared, no matter how deep the hurt. Working through the details of the divorce offers a prime opportunity to work together to ensure children, and parents, get what they need.
The key–people should envision the traits they hope to see in their children when they are grown. What kinds of relationships will their grown children experience and create? More, what kind of relationship will the children have with each parent?
These elements should define how each parent conducts him/herself during the divorce. Most parents want their children to be responsible, kind, generous, and secure. Children learn what they live. As they see parents negotiate the most difficult of experiences kindly, responsibly, and healthily setting boundaries to ensure their own security, children learn how to negotiate the difficulties of life in the same way.
As parents create a plan for working together to raise their children, they focus on what each child needs from each parent. When this focus drives the conversations, the result is a blend of time that works for each person and the redefined family as a whole.
Hurt people need healing. When they ask the right questions, they create a process that moves from hurt to health.