Divorce & Custody
There are very, very few smooth and easy divorces. Yes, there are some, but most become complicated affairs that involve multiple clashes of personalities, egos, anxieties, bad behaviors, assets and a little thing called “the law.”
In a divorce, because it is a legal contract governed by the state, what matters most is the state law(s) governing marriage, divorce and custody. There is always a listing of the rules, regulations and laws governing divorce and custody posted on the state’s judicial website and the laws are always available at any law library at any court house. So most of the wondering about what happens and what will happen during a divorce is already accounted for by the statutes, rules and regulations governing marriage and divorce.
So why, then is divorce such a horrendous experience for most people?
Because “divorce” is a psychological matter; only “divorcing” – that is, the steps one must take to unravel the marriage contract – involves “the law.”
It is the psychological functioning of all parties in involved – spouses, lawyers, even judges sometimes, that makes the “divorcing” process smooth or bumpy. Or horrendous.
And what about the kids, if there are children involved?
Well, that makes the psychological functions much more complicated.
Although you won’t hear many lawyers talk about it, having an experienced clinical psychologist or other licensed and skilled clinical therapist is extremely important in matters of divorce survival and recovery. And remember, no matter how horrible the divorcing experience is, one day it will be over.
The key to understanding divorce proceedings is to realize that they are part of a process and the lives of the adults, children and grand parents continue during that process. A skilled clinical psychologist helps that happen and prepares participants for life after divorce.
For children, especially, often it is helpful to have the Court appoint a Guardian ad Litem (G.A.L.) or “next friend of the Court” to perform an evaluation of the parents and children and make recommendations to the Court about matters of custody, visitation and co-parenting. Getting a qualified GAL – if you can find a good one – can make a huge difference in the quality of the custody decision and co-parenting arrangements.
This can be especially important if one spouse is dealing with another who may have significant anger or other psychological issues that may impact the divorce actions.