Two old friends, Jane & Susan, run into each other for the first time in years.
Jane: Sue, you look fantastic! What’s your secret?
Susan: I lost 200 pounds of unwanted dead weight.
Susan: I got a divorce!
This is what criminal attorneys say about divorce:
“In criminal law we represent some of the worst members of society, but for the time of the representation, they are on their absolute best behavior. Whereas, in a divorce, you represent some of the best members of society, but for the time of the representation they are on their absolute worst behavior.”
One of the perks of my job is running into my divorced clients around town. Generally, even in cases of amicable divorce, these are people that I have seen at their absolute worst.
And, while their behavior may have been appalling, that is only one small aspect of “their worst.” There is the physical appearance – sometimes they let their personal grooming slide and they gain or lose too much weight. If they are trying to demonstrate that the financial circumstances will be difficult, they might start wearing ripped, old clothes, sometimes too big or too small on them.
Also, their worst mental condition. These people are losing sleep, they might be angry or depressed, distracted by trying to figure out all the details of their new lives, or just overwhelmed by the number of decisions they need to make. Ironically, this can lead to a complete inability to make even the simplest decisions.
During the divorce process I see people who are short-tempered, confused, distracted (sometimes to the point of rudeness), and insecure. I have seen people come to my office, thinking that they are prepared to discuss life-altering arrangements, clearly drunk, high, or stoned. And then surprised when I point out that it is obvious they are in an altered state.
But, whereas the criminal attorney releases a criminal either directly back into society or first into jail, what I release into society is a chrysalis. And then, over time, what I see are my former clients at their most happy, alive, “best” selves.
I love when I get to see the “after” – the women who have balanced their budgets on their own and can now suddenly afford nicer clothes. The men who have started hitting the gym instead of the couch for the first time since college. The people who have a new sense of confidence, of their own ability to face, and succeed in, the real world.
When a new client comes in, at the bottom of their own well and forecasting nothing but doom ahead I try to paint the picture of where they are heading. The road through divorce is difficult, but it frequently leads to someplace much better than where they are leaving.
What We Love: No matter how dark things are in the middle of your divorce, the process will end and you will have your own life back. Sometimes, even better than you left it.