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Marriage Eulogy

Ty Supancic, Esq.Fifty years after a divorce, the children and grandchildren of the original divorcing couple will believe a story about why their parents and grandparents divorced, what kind of people they were, and what aftermath or legacy they left behind. A couple going through a divorce have the opportunity to write that story. By writing that story, and by keeping that story in mind, they can guide their actions and decisions in such a way that the story can become a sort of self-fulfilling prophecy.

The exercise of having divorcing couples write a “Joint Divorce Story” is not a new idea. Ron has been recommending it to his clients for years. Unfortunately, few ever take the time to engage in this useful exercise. Oftentimes they confuse the Joint Divorce Story with a mission statement or their short-term goals. The exercise might be more easily understood if it is renamed “The Marriage Eulogy”.

When planning their future, a couple dreams about what their married life will be like. When divorce ends a marriage, that powerful dream dies. Couples going through divorce really are witnessing the death of an entity. Psychology informs us that children witnessing the divorce of their parents may be as devastated as a parent losing a child.

A eulogy is not something scrawled in haste. It is not something we compose in our heads while driving. A good eulogy is something we craft and hone and polish so that the result is powerful and evocative. We are trying to sum up the essence of an entire being in a few succinct words. The Marriage Eulogy should be written in such a manner.

When couples are not ready to write a joint eulogy, I suggest they write individual eulogies to exchange and reflect on individually. Knowing how your ex-spouse wants your marriage to be remembered by their grandchildren can be a powerful thing.

One might tread more softly and be more thoughtful if mindful of what history will say about them and their life. “I can’t think about my ex in that way yet! It’s too soon.” Okay, but you could write a fairy tale about how a divorce would be remembered. That is a powerful starting place. If we all were to conduct ourselves in accordance with the values and motives of a fairytale hero or heroine, we would all find ourselves kinder, gentler, nobler, and wiser as a result.

If you or someone you know has questions about divorce or another family law topic, please remember that our free Second Saturday Divorce Workshop is this Saturday, June 10 from 10AM to 12PM at our Woodland Hills office. For more info, visit www.thelawcollaborative.com/secondsaturday.htm or call (818)348-6700 to RSVP.

Ty Supancic, Esq.

Hold Onto Your Hat

photo by RaidersLight via PhotoRee

This article by J. Richard Kulerski, a Chicago based divorce lawyer, is brilliant. What he says in this article we’ve been saying for years. Hallelujah, Mr. Kulerski.

From Hold Onto Your Hat: Introducing the New Way to Divorce:

The public is displeased with the divorce legal system, and sees it as too complicated, lengthy, and costly. The argument is that the system should satisfy society’s needs, not frustrate them. Heck, many soon-to-be exes are now spending more on their divorce than they did on their wedding. We need to change how we divorce, but the problem lies in figuring out what to change it to.

This is not as impossible as it sounds, but it does require our doing the last thing on earth that we want to do: treat our soon-to-be ex and their settlement position with respect and understanding. This does not mean being weak; it means being smart. Listening to their side of the story is the cheapest concession we can make.

This is the civilized approach to divorce. It calls for us to behave at our best, at a time in our lives when we are inclined to act at our worst. Up to now, we have felt entitled to act at our worst, and the result has been disastrous.

Read the full article…