In Divorce

Divorce changes relationships, not people

Here is a hard truth: if your spouse is lazy, bad with money, self-centered, irresponsible, greedy, a bad parent, abusive to themselves or others, or has any number of other deficits which have contributed to the breakdown of the marriage, your ex-spouse is likely going to continue to be all those things.

Many people assume that divorce is going to “fix” the problems they have. It often fixes some problems but not others. It provides space for people. It eliminates the need to deal with the spouse on a daily basis. It allows for autonomy over finances. It often reduces conflicts over the children – or at least in front of the children. Sometimes a marriage relationship is toxic. And changing the relationship status actually allows each party to be better people for themselves and their children.

I’ve had instances where divorcing parties got along better following their divorce. In most cases, divorce does not change people. Some of my clients are incredibly frustrated by this. They have issues with timely payments of support, co-parenting, and compliance with other orders of the court. Some behavior changes occur for the better following contempt or modification motions that may be filed. The learning curve is a little slow for some. But there are others out there who just don’t change – period. As frustrating as it may be, sometimes the best thing an ex-spouse can do in these situations is to get some support to best learn how to cope with it.

There are only so many times you can go to court before the cost and emotional toll starts to cancel out any benefit received. The courts are not in a position to micromanage people and sometimes it gets to the point that the available remedies either are insufficient or actually hurtful for the person bringing the motion. Understandably, it’s very hard for some people to accept this. They feel as though there is no justice and the system has let them (and their children) down. Worse, they feel as though the other person has “won.” Being in a position to be able to let go, live your life in relative peace and not define your happiness based on someone else is the real triumph.

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