Looking through the news I’ve noticed a disturbing trend this week.  In South Carolina, a man shot his ex-wife’s attorney, and a Florida man shot his wife’s boyfriend.  Both victims and the shooters are now dead.

There’s no doubt that a divorce can be a very difficult, uncomfortable, and maddening experience.  I’ve had my fair share of angry clients, and I’ll even admit that my first marriage ended badly and I carried some bitterness for quite a while.

You will survive the divorce!

However, no matter how ugly things get, you will live on and things will eventually get better.  You may feel like you’re getting hammered and your spouse is laughing all the way to the bank, but I can assure you that isn’t the case.

The fact is that all divorces start with certain presumptions:  The marital property will probably be split 50/50, and about 80% of the time the mother will have primary custody of the kids.  (Note that in Tennessee there is no legal presumption favoring either parent for care of the children, the Census Bureau is just reporting the actual results.)

It is the job of each lawyer to find reasons why one spouse should be awarded more of the property, or some form of alimony, or the majority of the parenting responsibilities.  We don’t make up facts, we merely shine a light on whatever is already there.

What is happening in your marriage is not the fault of your spouse’s attorney, or even the fault of the new boyfriend or girlfriend.  Shooting somebody will do nothing other than rob innocent people of a parent, spouse, or companion.  Murder certainly won’t improve your odds of a favorable settlement in your divorce.

Don’t get mad, get to work!

Angry?  Frustrated?  Put these emotions to work and ask your lawyer what you can do to combat whatever evidence the other side has against you.   Everybody has made mistakes, and an occasional bad decision isn’t necessarily the end of your case.  Well, unless those bad decisions involve killing someone.

In any case, talk to your attorney before you do something crazy.  He may be able to refer you to a counselor or help you find someone to talk to.  If you’re feeling like your relationship with your lawyer isn’t working, or you just want a bigger jerk, maybe you need to seek new counsel.  Frankly, I’d much rather my client fire me and hire someone else before he goes off and starts shooting.

Hiring a new lawyer

I should mention that before you contact me, I generally won’t talk to someone who already has another attorney.  I think it’s disrespectful to my colleague, as I don’t want to be in a position of second-guessing their strategy or representation style.