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Finally, the End

The only truly beautiful, breathtaking part of a Family Law case is the very end.

“A good case is a closed case,” is the mantra in the courthouse hallways and closets where divorce attorneys hide and nap.  And that is really saying something.  You can’t sell a client on, “well at least that’s over!” just anywhere.

Imagine a criminal defense attorney trying to bask in the sunrise that is the end of a taxing case?  “You know, Mr. Murderer, sure you got forty years in prison, but look at the bright side – at least you don’t have to come to court anymore!”  Not quite.

Family Court is different.  In Family Court, the gavel pounding at the end is a true harbinger of better (less worse?) things to come.  The end, and the beginning.  All of the worry, money, and aggravation culminating in a sudden release and rebirth.  Smell a flower.  Enjoy your old friend dopamine.  Let the boulder you have been pushing roll down the other side of that hill.  Get a huge iced coffee and chug it.  The end.

“You know, Mr. Recently Divorced, for a decade you had to live with your wife.  Then, for a year, you had to schlep to court and pay me.  Now, at least, you get some peace and quiet living in that shed we got you!”  Quite.

He then had to sell that shed to pay his attorney.

I was at a meeting last year with a bunch of very successful attorneys.  Litigators, closing attorneys, corporate counsel, etc.  “Real” {pause} attorneys.  I told them confidently that I, the lowly family law attorney who arrived in a Honda, was the most powerful among them and when they incredulously asked me why that was I told them, “Because I am the only one here who can make a spouse disappear.”  They didn’t think it was funny.  Real attorneys don’t have a sense of humor.

I understand that the last few months (possibly years) in a protracted divorce case may have warped your sense of self and your place in the world.  Perhaps you lost who you were during an abusive marriage, or your usual parenting role was upended during the divorce because the two of you had always parented together, and now you are learning to do that alone.  Maybe you became aloof to friends and coworkers because you misplaced “you” in all the sorrow and the stress.  Perhaps throughout your marriage you just wanted to be alone, and now that you are alone you are left with the constant din of your own thoughts.  Whatever it is and whatever you were is behind you now.  It’s all over but the crying.

Where you go from here is truly and completely up to you.  You are no longer one part of a whole.   You can recommit to finding (or inventing) yourself.  You can reignite a passion you had from young adulthood.  Or go to counseling.  Join a gym.  Become a pen pal to a prisoner.  The whole world really is your oyster.  This is an exciting and scary time!

You did, or you didn’t, take your attorney’s advice.  You did, or you didn’t heed your financial adviser’s warnings. You no longer have your spouse’s two cents.  This is what you asked for, or it isn’t.  It is just you, and the world, and who you used to be.

Explore and enjoy.

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