Lessons Learned as a Family Court Practitioner in South Carolina

Lessons Learned as a Family Court Practitioner in South Carolina

         I start almost every divorce consult the exact same way. I spend the first 30 minutes listening to heartbreak, disappointment, anger, fear, concern over money and bad parenting. After telling me about themselves, and the bad marriage they find themselves in, every potential client tells me the EXACT SAME THING . . . they want an “EASY” divorce.

An EASY divorce? There is no such thing. By the time you are sitting in my office . . . the die has been cast. Divorce is the end of a relationship. Most relationships end badly. The end of a marriage . . . how could that not end badly? Presumably, you are parting ways with your best friend. Your most trusted confidant. The person you committed to building a life with, of rearing children with, and with whom you promised “for better or for worse” . . . “til death do us part”. Anything that causes a rift between two people . . . be it adultery, or money problems, or drug use, or simple disinterest . . . is ALWAYS going to result in a messy, difficult process.

It is in these moments that we 188_5943_1280x1920find our darker, weaker selves. It is when your marriage is crumbling that the urge to make it all go away becomes too strong to resist. It is in moments of betrayal and dishonesty where we give in to the impulses of hurt and anger. We act before thinking because we are emotional creatures. Emotion is one of the primary reasons we are so unique in this entire universe. Emotion drives our behavior in all things. To pretend your divorce can be easy is to pretend you can be emotionless. I have yet to meet even one person who doesn’t feel emotional about the loss of trust, especially from your most trusted companion.

In my humble opinion, trust is the key element to a marriage. Trust, and open communication, allow couples to tackle anything in their way. With trust and communication, couples can rise above any obstacle, clear any path, and traverse any ocean. It is literally the theme of love songs everywhere. Trust, once lost, is hard to regain. Pistanthrophobia is the fear of trusting someone. We all suffer from it from time to time. I don’t know what the word is for “fear of trusting someone AGAIN”. I imagine it is still Pistanthrophobia.

So, after having lost trust in the person you trust the most, how do you move forward? It cannot be through an EASY divorce. The FEW easy divorces I h
ave done . . . maybe a handful in 15 years . . . were done by people who still trusted one another in a major way. In fact, they trusted each other enough to admit they were unhappy and figure out a way to move forward together . . . even if it meant being apart. To echo my theme above, they overcame their mutual unhappiness through trust and communication. That kind of divorce is the exception, not the rule.

Family court in South Carolina is not about venting your frustration with your marriage. It is not a place where your broken heart will be healed. It has two main functions: protect your children and divide your money / property. I cannot think of two more important issues where TRUST would be needed.

You need to be able to trust your child(ren)’s mother or father to make the best possible decisions for them. You need to trust in the values given for your home or retirement account. You need trust that your debts will get paid in a manner that doesn’t hurt your credit any more than they already have. You need to trust the words coming out of the other person’s mouth. YET . . . how can you? Once trust has been ruined, even if only for one small moment, the impact of that lost trust lives on, evolves, and lingers.

Well, what can you do? How do you FAIRLY end a relationship when you cannot trust the person you are ending it with? Who makes sure you, and your child(ren), are protected. Who makes sure you can recover financially? Who makes sure your child(ren) are being reared in a safe, moral environment when you can’t be with them?

Hopefully, you are able to find an experienced family court practitioner who understands not only what you are going through, but also the best way to get where you are going. A lawyer ensures that you, your child(ren), your property, and your sanity are protected as you navigate the family court system. An experienced family court lawyer can help you manage your disappointment and fear of the future. He or she can help start you on your new path with a newfound sense of hope and purpose. A family court lawyer is the person you ultimately TRUST because the person you thought you could turned out not to be.