Will I Win My Divorce?
My colleague Kelly is an excellent family law paralegal, and the Freed Marcroft paralegals are the point people for our clients when unexpected things happen that they want to discuss. In other words – Kelly talks to a lot of people about divorce. And one of the things clients frequently ask her is, “Do you think I’ll win?”
She answers them: “Tell me, what does winning mean to you?”
If you file your divorce based upon the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage with no hope of reconciliation (which is essentially the “irreconcilable differences” of Connecticut), in your whole divorce, there will only be one legal standard that’s objective. If at least one spouse swears that the marriage is broken down irretrievably with no hope of reconciliation, the judge will order that your marriage is dissolved. If you no longer want to be married, you can reasonably and objectively declare being officially divorced a win.
Other than that, there’s no objective, one size fits all definition of win/lose in divorce. The divorce court is a court of equity – which means that even if you don’t reach resolutions outside of court and let a judge decide, the legal standards that the judge will follow for all the things that need to get decided in a divorce – things like parenting, property division, alimony – are intentionally subjective. “Equitable” doesn’t mean “equal,” so 50%/50% isn’t guaranteed. The divorce system also isn’t punitive, so you also shouldn’t expect a zero-sum game.
And so, we find ourselves back to Kelly’s excellent question. “Tell me, what does winning mean to you?”
Don’t focus on what you don’t want when you answer that question. Instead, focus on what you do want.
Decide what you want for your life – for example, to be unmarried, to be proud of how you conducted yourself during the divorce, to maintain positive, robust relationships between your children and both of their co-parents, or to have the financial resources to support you as you set up the next stage of your life.
To decide what you want, you need to see yourself as a person who isn’t at the mercy of what happens to you but who instead gets to choose your response to life.
If you focus on what you don’t want, the problems you see will multiply. On the other hand, if you focus on what you do want – your ultimate goal for your life – you will still face and solve problems along the way, but you will do so in the advancement of the life you seek.
And you will win.