There is an important difference between aggression and strength and it boils down to emotional maturity. When something as important as marriage comes to an end, emotions run high. When a couple contemplates divorce, it means that they have suffered hurt feelings and often harbor resentment over past wrongs.
You may think that you need an “aggressive” divorce attorney who can make your cheating spouse pay and won’t stop until there is blood on the courtroom floor, but conflict-driven litigation often leads to more problems for you. Aggression comes from fear and acting out of fear will end up biting you in the long-term.
Strength, on the other hand, is based on courage, maturity of thought, understanding, and love. Finding an attorney who understands that you need strength to heal will help you reach better long-term results.
Here are a few ways that a strong approach, founded in compassion will help you:
Aggressive attorneys mean aggressive costs
A divorcing couple who insist on fighting every inch of the way spends unnecessary time in court arguing about matters that have little to do with the rest of their lives. This aggressive approach will feel good and right at first. After all, this is what you see on TV all the time.
What Judge Judy and Law and Order don’t show, however, is that this time in court costs a TON. You lose out on the ability to earn money working, you lose time from family and friends while you prepare for court, you pay for your attorneys time. And then, on the day of court, the judge will usually cut through both sides and come up with a decision that no one really likes. Several hundred dollars later in lost potential earnings, attorneys fees, and time and you are not really in a better position than you were to start with.
Rather than waste time and money fighting in court about who gets to keep the holiday decorations and who gets the family dog, a dedicated family law attorney can help you resolve disputes outside of the court through negotiation, mediation, or collaboration.
By taking a principled position, considering what the other side really wants, and what is really most important to YOU it is possible to reach agreements that put you in a better place. The thing is, this approach takes more skill, is less flashy, and makes attorneys less money than aggression.
Strong attorneys give you back your time, allowing you to heal
In the course of your divorce, there will be many opportunities to go to court. And there are attorneys who will not hesitate to do so. This is the easy solution. And many people equate going to court with progress in their case.
But constantly going to court and fighting every inch of the way does not give you time to heal. Going to court is a highly stressful thing for everyone.
Instead, a strength-based approach establishes the things you are willing to go to court for because these are the most important. And you also identify those issues that you can compromise on.
For example, your spouse wants to take the boat to the lake to spend time with his friends next weekend. The aggressive reaction may be to fight the request. The strong reaction, on the other hand, is to trade boat time for something that you want, like time with the kids.
Approaching divorce without the attitude that you must go to court all the time gives you more time to do the things that are important to you. It also means that you have time and opportunity to heal and rebuild your life.
Children will grow up to be strong, compassionate adults
Aggression and fear can affect children the most. Children intuitively copy the emotions of their parents and mirror their parent’s approach to relationships. When you act out of aggression and fear, your children will become aggressive and fearful. An attorney who is strong will help YOU be strong.
You can be BETTER than fear when you remember things like the fact that your cheating soon-to-be-ex-husband is still your children’s father. No amount of aggression will change that. And you will WIN because your children will learn to be strong because of your example. A strong approach to divorce can change the way you interact with your children’s other parent once you have separate lives.
Remember, you will have the possibility of interacting with your former partner at graduations, weddings, and every significant event in your children’s lives. This interaction can be a repetition of arguments, the resurrection of past wrongs, and a renewal of hurt and pain (and if it is, your children will find a way to keep you apart if you don’t); or it can be peaceful and amicable.
It largely depends on how you approach your divorce—aggression and fear or strength and compassion. If your focus is moving on and bettering your life and the lives of your children, Pacific Northwest Family Law can help. Call us at 360-926-9112. Mention this article during the month of September for a free consultation worth $100.