The high cost of divorceJoanna Craig
There has been plenty in the press about the rising number of complaints about family lawyers, in particular to the legal ombudsman. The main reason for those complaints seems to be the cost of divorce in terms of legal fees. I am not going to defend the position of family lawyers here but I think anyone involved in divorce, in whatever capacity, knows that things often do not go well – there is often an over-optimistic approach and while everyone hopes that matters will be resolved amicably, sometimes they are not! As I always say, the more people can agree between themselves, the better, not only for them personally and emotionally but also to reduce legal costs.
One thing that often gets in the way is the grudge. One or both parties bear a grudge and they do not let it go. I am told that US lawyers are advised to “pour honey over the heart of resentment”. Not something that I have ever felt moved to do but perhaps it would be useful if we could all accept responsibility for times we have over-reacted to a supposed offence. We may have to accept that bad stuff happens to good people for no reason and we all need to move forward.
In an ideal world I am sure divorcing couples would have access to divorce coaches, counsellors, psychologists, family therapists e.t.c. as well as the lawyer. But since the lawyers alone tend to be more than people can afford, these other resources are just not going to be available.
So the question remains: how does one move forward after a divorce? It is easy to say forgiveness and acceptance are important criteria but the Decree Absolute or Court proceedings cannot themselves be a grudge to an end. Part of the divorce process should allow and enable both parties to move on without any anger, resentment or bitterness that may well affect any future relationships.
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