Saturday, March 24, 2007

Change the Divorce System NOW!

Spent half an hour on the phone yesterday with a business friend who is in the 4th year of a nasty divorce. He has spent over $100,000 in attorney's fees, and he isn't done yet. More important than the money is the emotional toll on he and his daughter, now 15.

I probably had the easiest divorce in history. It cost me $100 in attorneys fees. My ex-wife was the travel agent who booked the honeymoon of my current marriage some 20 years ago, and is still our travel agent today.

What do these two divorces have in common. My friend agreed with me that divorce is the worst thing that he has gone through in his entire life. It creates anger, resentment, bitterness, disruption in our lives at every level. In almost every case, careers are disrupted, often times businesses are hurt or even destroyed, KIDS are badly damaged, friendships are ended, and financial consequences to both husband and wife are commonly devastating.

There has to be a better way. I don't have a really cool new idea here. However, I believe that with all of its shortcomings, the fault method of divorce was better than this no-fault approach. It sent a message to the community that you don't just dissolve a marriage because you're "unhappy" or "not in love" anymore. You don't even quit because of one or two "mistakes" on the part of one or the other spouse. You don't give up because one spouse hasn't met all the "needs" of the other. Our current system says: Unhappy? End it. Everybody knows the consequences of such an approach, but nobody's doing anything about it.

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