Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Not So Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Welcome to the initial post of my blog. What to call it? What to consider? What would be the initial subject? So, after some thought, we now have name and purpose and considering my 23 years of practicing matrimonial law, I decided to comment on the general state of things in my chosen field.

As the blog's name derives from film, so does the title of this first post. It unfortunately reflects what I see as an ever-increasing incivility, unwillingness to compromise, and anger among those divorcing in our courts. So what are the causes of this vitriol? A few observations...

1. Certainly, the economy is a contributor. People who might have separated earlier and who stay in purgatory longer because of the financial costs to divorce (both in litigation expenses and in asset division and support) are trapped in a cauldron-- a pressure cooker where an explosion must result as long as the cover remains tightly in place. If finances are tight in the first place, living in close quarters with someone who has cheated on you, doesn't talk to you, hates your guts and vice versa, or all of the above (add in-- while the children are crying too), does not usually make for an amicable resolution of the issues.

2. The failure to recognize or accept the reality of the new economic world when one spouse refuses to believe that a once opulent lifestyle is no more yet the sense of entitlement remains. Unrealistic expectations breeds resentment in addition to litigation.

3. To harken back to "The Doors", we want the world and we want it now. Failure to achieve the instant gratification which some feel is a birth right, makes for tension, frustration and anger when the process takes as long as it does or when the other party does not readily agree.

4. People are getting used to rudeness as an acceptable way of conducting life and business. It is rampant in everything from road rage to intolerant customer service representatives to reality TV. (Let the record reflect that I do not "blame" TV for society's ills or one's refusal to take responsibility for one's own behavior.)

5. This blight is compounded by some attorneys who march blindly into the abyss arm and arm with their deluded clients (sometimes the lawyer is more deluded than the client) and an overloaded court system in which many judges are new to this area of law.

6. New York does not have "no fault" divorce. We are the only state that does not. So "grounds" must be plead and proven, often by someone having to "embellish" (I am being kind here) the truth. That is a great way of setting the other spouse off even while counsel tries to explain to his or her client that the allegations against him of being a lowlife, vermin-like, disgusting excuse for a human being, are just "pleadings" not to be taken personally.

Alright then...that is a pretty good start. Hopefully, something good (it does exist) and some proposed solutions next time. Some law as well perhaps.