Tag: causes

What are the 3 main issues that lead to divorce these days?

Every time you hear about divorce, what are the 3 main issues that lead to divorce these days? 

I have been a divorce and family law attorney for 26 years. In that time I have spoken to thousands of people about divorce and their reasons for seeking a divorce. While there are many reasons one may need or feel the need to divorce, the “top 3” reasons are, in my experience: 

  1. Broken trust (whether that is caused by infidelity or hiding a substance abuse problem or failing to “pull one’s own weight” in the marriage relationship, etc.) 
  2. Placing self-interest ahead of fostering the marriage partnership (which usually takes the form of expecting your spouse to be perfect and to be solely or primarily responsible for your happiness) 
  3. Immaturity and/or some kind of mental health disorder 

Utah Family Law, LC | | 801-466-9277 

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True or false: Better to divorce than have a miserable life.

This blog post is in response to this question: 

I don’t think it’s bad to get a divorce. I think it’s more unhealthy to have miserable lives.

— Ginger Wynn.

What are your thoughts on this statement? 

This statement tries to express a valid point, but it does so in a logically confused way. 

The statement “I don’t think it’s bad to get a divorce. I think it’s more unhealthy to have miserable lives” falsely presumes that divorce will cure or prevent what makes a dysfunctional (or worse) marriage dysfunctional.  

Sometimes a marriage is so toxic and harmful as to require termination. In such cases divorce is not only justified, but necessary.  

Sometimes the trouble one or both spouses is suffering in a marriage can be remedied by divorce.  

Sometimes the trouble a marriage is causing one or both spouses can be remedied by divorce.  

But not always.  

Sometimes the solution is “mend it, don’t end it”; more often than you’d think the cure for dysfunction and discord in a marriage is staying married and working on improving the marriage, not destroying it.  

Far too often I see people divorce in the false belief that their spouses/their marriages are making them miserable only to learn, after the damage is done, that their spouses/their marriages are not the cause(s) of their troubles. They realize that divorcing only compounds their suffering. They consequently become even more miserable.  

So here is what I submit is a more accurate statement: It is not bad to get a divorce when you truly have no better alternative.  

Don’t divorce unless divorce you need to. Know that “mend it, don’t end it” is not the answer before you seek a divorce.  

Utah Family Law, LC | | 801-466-9277  

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How is it possible that people go bankrupt during divorce in the USA? Isn’t it a 50/50 split?

How is it possible that people go bankrupt during divorce in the USA? Isn’t it a 50/50 split?

It’s not “the divorce” that causes people to go bankrupt, it’s the financial strain that a divorce case either causes or exacerbates.

Here are the top three reasons why divorce and bankruptcy so often go hand in hand:

  • People can literally go bankrupt by incurring debt for legal fees. Contested divorces can easily cost $50,000 and only go up and up from there. Few people have that much discretionary spending money, so they go into debt to finance their divorce case and then find themselves unable to pay the creditors, so they file for bankruptcy.

Many people are insolvent or near-insolvent before they or their spouses file for divorce, and so:

  • some people don’t file for bankruptcy because they don’t want their family to suffer the effects of bankruptcy, but if their spouses file for divorce and break up the family, then the reason/motivation to put off filing for bankruptcy no longer exists.
  • for other people the financial support from their spouses are the only thing that keeps bankruptcy at bay. Once their spouses are out of the financial picture, they can’t put off bankruptcy any longer.

Utah Family Law, LC | | 801-466-9277

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Why is it so common for parents to become outright enemies after divorce?

Why is it so common for parents to become outright enemies after a divorce?

I have represented people in divorce who were pure as the driven snow, innocent as lambs, and treated miserably by their spouses, by law enforcement, by Child and Family Services, and by the courts. They were accused falsely. Their characters as parents were assassinated. Their children were withheld from them. Their own children grew to fear and hate them.

They didn’t deserve it. It was horribly unfair. It shattered their faith in the legal system. Yet even though the legal system didn’t just let them down, but victimized them, these people did not allow bitterness and resentment to ruin their lives. They realized it wouldn’t make anything any better but would, in fact, make things even worse. They didn’t act as though they weren’t hurt, even grievously wounded, but they acknowledged that letting the wound fester was pointless, even counterproductive. They resolved not only to move onward, but upward. It was (still is) difficult, but the right thing for them and for their children. They are happier. Their consciences are clear.

I have also represented people in divorce who were good, but they had flaws (some serious). Some of these people did foolish and reckless things. They caused significant, sometimes irreparable, damage to the relationships with their spouses and/or with their children. Sometimes they didn’t want to cause harm, but they let their selfishness and weaknesses get the better of them. They too were treated miserably by their spouses, law enforcement, child and family services, and the courts. They didn’t deserve the level of miserable treatment they got. But rather than acknowledge that they were part of the problem, they sought to shift the blame to anyone but themselves.

Rather than 1) taking responsibility for their part in the mess; 2) acknowledging that the past cannot be undone; and 3) resolving to repent and make the best of the future to ease and eventually heal the pain, they blame everyone and everything but themselves. And they vow to make everyone and everything pay. The easiest target of their anger is their ex, then their kids. That’s one of the main reasons why it is so common for parents to become outright enemies after a divorce.

Utah Family Law, LC | | 801-466-9277

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Have you ever dealt with parental alienation?

Yes, but from the perspective of being the divorce lawyer for the alienated parent.

Let me tell you, unless the alienating parent is so ham-handed in his or her efforts that the alienation is manifestly undeniable, proving parental alienation is extraordinarily difficult. Why?

Because no parental alienate her worth his or her salt is going to come right out and say “I want our kids to hate and avoid the other parent.” Alienating parents know that if they want to get away with it, they need to convince their judge that the other parent is a monster. This is surprisingly easy to do.

And here is why: if I stand up in a restaurant where you were having dinner and shout out “Help! My grandma is choking!,” the good and decent people in the restaurant would come running to see what they could do to help. They would not sit there skeptically and ask themselves, “Is this claim true? I don’t see anyone choking. I wonder if this whole thing is a hoax.” No, they would come running to see if they could help because that’s what decent people do.

And this is why, unfortunately, it is so easy for a parental alienator to manipulate a judge, if he or she is a decent person (and most judges are).

It is contrary to the nature of decent people to believe people lie about harm to others. So judges do what most of us would do when there are allegations of parental unfitness and/or child abuse. They start with the question “What can I do to help?” instead of the question they should be asking, which is: “Where does the actual verifiable evidence, if any, point?”

Another error judges commit far too often is assuming:

  • that a divorcing parent would never falsely accuse the other parent of abuse unless it were true; and
  • a child would never falsely accuse a parent of abuse unless it were true.

Any judge who believes this is patently incompetent. The depths to which divorcing parents are capable of stooping in the child custody fight are infinite.

“What can I do to help?” is the worst question to ask in response to allegations of child abuse or neglect because the question ignorantly presumes that there is a problem or problems for which help is needed. That’s when confirmation bias creeps in, i.e., “There must be a problem because I’m trying to help,” followed by “better safe than sorry” justifications. Judges are seduced by the appeal of a child custody award designed not to protect the children not from any proven harm or risk of harm, but from the very possibility of them suffering harm.

The problem with an abundance of caution approach is that it totally disregards the court’s obligation to determine guilt. It dispenses with considering the parent’s innocence and decency in favor of imposing measures that would prevent this decent and innocent parent from doing his or her child any harm. Cutting a parent off from a child to prevent possible harm also prevents the parent from conferring any possible benefit on that same child.

Utah Family Law, LC | | 801-466-9277

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