Charlotte Divorce Attorney Matthew R. Arnold of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question ” I’m considering separating from my spouse; what actions should I refrain from doing?”
A spouse’s cruel words and outrageous treatment drove you to a divorce attorney in the first place, but now the divorce attorney is telling you the cruel treatment no more matters to your case than whether you broke your leg skiing or broke it getting hit by a car.
In medicine, of course, the answer is the fix the leg. In the world of marriages, a common answer to a couple’s problems—the opposite of fixing it—is to get a divorce. Many couples who arrive at this point turn to the legal system to find something they never experienced in their marriage: justice.
A family law attorney writing for the Buffalo Law Journal has a warning for justice seekers: In the family law courts, it’s business, not personal.
Family law attorney Steven Wiseman says courts use guidelines to render decisions on matters like child support and spousal maintenance. Courts have some discretion to deviate from these guidelines, but the fact that a spouse may have been “a lying, cheating, son of a you-know-what” is simply not relevant.
Wiseman suggests that the longer a spouse holds out for “justice,” the longer a divorce can take and the more unnecessarily expensive it can become. The sooner a person can come to grips with the fact that the divorce process is business, not personal—Wiseman says—the sooner the person will be able to move on with the rest of one’s life.
New York—where Wiseman practices—considers marriage to be an economic partnership. Divorce is, in effect, the dissolution of the economic enterprise of marriage—an orderly division of assets and liabilities, according to certain formulas. Many other states have moved away from archaic common law doctrines and distinctions and have adopted formulas and codes that strip the formal divorce process of much of the rancor and raw emotion.
In New York, for instance, when it comes to deciding “who gets what,” a judge can consider a laundry list of factors, but not one of them involves “who was at fault.” Most states allow couples to seek and obtain so-called “no-fault” divorces, where both sides agree the marriage is irretrievably broken but neither side takes blame.
The key for someone facing a divorce, Wiseman says, is to view the enterprise as a business transaction. In any important business transaction, Wiseman says, you need someone on your side who is experienced with the law and who is experienced at dealing with the family law courts in your area. For those with complicated business holdings or assets, Wiseman recommends hiring a financial specialist who can evaluate the worth of one’s assets, advise as to tax implications of disposition of assets, and advise one’s family law attorney regarding the expected financial implications of the disposition of certain assets and liabilities.
That is not to say that your feelings—your sense of wanting to right the wrongs inflicted on you—are unimportant. They have their place. Wiseman suggests seeing a counselor or a professional “who can attend to your emotional ups and downs” while your attorney administers the business of your divorce.
If you find yourself facing a complicated family law matter, then you need the help of experienced family law attorneys in Charlotte, North Carolina who can help guide you through the often confusing process of divorce. Please contact Arnold & Smith, PLLC today at (704) 370-2828 or find additional resources here.
About the Author
Mr. Arnold was raised in Charlotte, where he graduated from Providence Senior High School. He attended Belmont Abbey College, where he graduated cum laude, before attending law school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on a full academic scholarship.
In his free time, Mr. Arnold enjoys golfing and spending time with his wife and three children.
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