How Do I Get My Life Back?

Not all marriages come together the same way. Some people just go to the courthouse, take a blood test, sign a few papers, and then support each other placidly and/or energetically until one or the other passes away. Others have to negotiate pre-nuptial agreements, change their religions, move to a different country, abandon all their friends, and adjust to a partner whose lifestyle, belief system, education and demeanor may be very different from their own. While some may find these changes unobjectionable, even liberating, others come to later resent all the sacrifices they made for their spouse and that their identity and lives have been totally destroyed for the sake of a marriage that was doomed to fail from the outset.

“Irreconcilable differences” are a common theme of divorce proceedings. Whether these differences relate to sexual preferences or habits, ideological or religious differences, disagreements over child-rearing issues, or simple differences in temperament, the couple that cannot reconcile must move forward with filing for divorce. In Connecticut the legal term is known as irretrievable breakdown, indicating no hope of reconciliation exists to salvage the marriage.

Once the decision to divorce is taken, you may be hit with a painful realization: the person for whom you gave up your country, your religion, your family, your education, and perhaps even your name is a lost cause. You have already been disinherited, excommunicated, ostracized, expelled, exiled and/or frozen out of your natural element. There is no going back.

While a divorce lawyer cannot help you get back everything you lost, and certainly cannot help you recover your lost youth or get back the time you wasted on a bad marriage, there is no such thing as a situation that cannot get even worse. Forgoing legal advice on how to manage your divorce almost guarantees that the worst is yet to come.

Divorce lawyers often have an unsavory reputation akin to “ambulance chasers,” i.e., lawyers who seek out accident victims in order to sue for damages, in the full knowledge that even the most frivolous claim is as likely as not to be rewarded with a not insubstantial financial settlement. There is a widespread sense that people who have a financial stake in a divorce trial are profiting from the misfortunes of others. Such attitudes are simplistic, outdated, and often well off the mark.

The days of “suing him for all he’s worth” over an adulterous relationship, while not quite completely gone, are fast disappearing. More and more, a lawyer provides a huge array of services that go well beyond the simplistic notion of serving as a hired gun. Recent trends in divorce practice show an increasing reliance on mediation, where a lawyer works to help a couple create a fair settlement by discussing legal and financial issues frankly face to face and in a way that allows the breakdown of a marriage to be amicable.

The advantage of mediation over the traditional scorched-earth approach of a no-holds-barred divorce trial is that a mediation attorney can sometimes help you and your spouse salvage things that may be as important or more important to you than money. In a civil court, there are usually only two issues considered: financial division and child custody arrangements. In a mediation, while you may not get the full apology you want, you may be able to articulate and satisfy some of your non-financial needs more fully. It has been our experience that the face to face mediation encounters often end not only in fairer and more palatable settlements, but may also provide a sense of closure that does not entail the life-long stinging bitterness that is the main takeaway from many divorce trials. We encourage settlement proposals that maximize the chances of all parties concerned for a financially secure and healthy life post-divorce, emphasizing such mutually important concerns as the safety and well-being of your children; employment and retirement matters; and perhaps drawing up terms that make it possible to keep a family business and/or home intact.

The best divorce lawyers follow some version of best practices for emergency room doctors: first stop the bleeding. Before you move on with the next chapter of your life, you need to wrap up this ugly marriage chapter in as businesslike and dignified a manner as possible. Once that happens, you will find it much easier to get your life back on track.

Hirsch Legal, LLC, based in Shelton, is one of Connecticut’s experienced family law practices. Carmina Hirsch, our principal attorney, has the professional standing and legal skill to help you resolve your legal issues expeditiously and effectively. We serve clients in New Haven and Fairfield County. If you live in Stamford, Danbury, Westport , Milford, Waterbury, Bridgeport, or the surrounding areas, we’re your key resource when marriage counseling has failed and divorce may be the only way forward. Call today for an appointment!

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