Believing Our Divorce Case Is the Worst Ever
by Michael Heath
I have a good friend who was married to a bad drinker causing many embarrassing situations. Some involved family gatherings going awry, cases where the police found her husband passed out on the front lawn, and even one time when she called the EMTs, believing the man whom she married was near death due to severe drunkenness. When enough was enough she sought the support of an Al-Anon meeting, anticipating the attendees to be mesmerized by her tales of a husband in deep alcohol abuse. To her awful surprise they looked quite bored as they listened, having already heard too many stories that were far worse.
When It Happens to Us
We can sometimes wallow in victimhood without even knowing it. Life-changing experiences can make us miserable and we may start asking why me? It is not uncommon to dwell on a marital relationship that has fallen apart. Maybe a spouse cheated or there was hidden drug use. A gambling habit might have depleted marital assets. Or a well-intentioned business investment could have turned into financial ruin. There are countless situations that have tested marital unions and anyone in the middle of it can believe that their experience beats all others. There may be the intention to use what happened as currency in a court of law. That when a judge hears their side of the story, they will be awarded all that is asked for. Anyone who believes that is likely in for a rude awakening.
Divorce Can Be a Nasty Thing
Divorces that make it into court are normally fraught with animosity and dissention. It is likely that the circumstances causing the case to be adjudicated were quite ugly. Judges spend day in and day out reading and hearing about all the situations that lead a marriage into failure and have pretty much seen and heard it all. A case that is believed to be shocking and appalling is unlikely to shock and appall the person sitting on the bench.
Despite how badly a spouse has behaved, it is a longshot that one spouse will get it all. Judges are allowed discretion since each case contains a certain uniqueness, and with that they want to be fair when handing down justice. This has to be measured against the requirement that jurists be consistent with statutory mandates. Rarely should anyone build high hopes that atrocious behavior in their bad marriage will yield winner-take-all consideration by the court.
How to End It
Life sometimes deals a bad hand. As unfair as the situation may seem, there are others in worse predicaments. Letting emotions get the best of us only allows for bad decision-making that can lead to worse conditions. That is the time to take a deep breath to reassess the situation. Seeing a therapist may be very helpful. Getting good legal advice is essential. A mission to beat a spouse in court is probably not a prudent ambition. It may simply be better to negotiate with the monster that makes up the other half of the marriage.