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Divorce Corp., the Movie…But It’s Only A Movie

As I tried tonight, before leaving the office, to get through the daily deluge of emails, I came across one with the words “**Media Alert**” spaced strategically across the top.    The “alert” notified me that this very evening a screening of Divorce Corp. was schedule for the Oaks Premier Theatre in Melbourne, Florida. “Oh, pshaw,” I said (mainly to myself since nobody was left in the office), “it’s already 7:00 and the movie starts at 8:00 and I’m at least two plus hours away…I’ll never make it.”

So, after I removed my tongue that I had firmly placed in my cheek, and after I went home, and had dinner, I decided to do the next best thing.  I watched a series of YouTube trailers for the movie on my trusty lap top computer.  Well, I’ll tell you, Herbert Morrison’s famous quote on seeing the Hindenburg burst into flames in 1937, could well have been repeated with equal emotion on viewing these trailers…”Oh, the humanity!!!”

divorce, movies, lawyers, Divorce Corp.

Yes folks, I watched quip after quip of investigators, law professors and people who had been involved in horrific divorces (“Oh the humanity!”) go on and on about how horrible the divorce process is and how it ruins lives.

One trailer opens with an individual stating, “Death is easier than divorce.” Does he know?  Has he previously died? 

But, yes, I understand, divorce is an end, and emotionally it has been ranked up there with other life shaking events such as the death of a loved one, losing a job, moving from a home, etc.  Why?  Because divorce is a loss, a big loss.  However, let’s remember that it is a husband, or a wife who initiates the divorce process.  Truly, even if things are slow, I’ve never walked up to a married couple and suggested they get divorced to drum up business.  (Though I have had married friends take dibs on having me represent them if they divorced- I hope in jest-but I did consider it a compliment)

Divorce Corp., or the trailers at least, would have you believe that lawyers cause all of the problems associated with divorce. A quote in point,” I came for help and came out with my family destroyed.”

Well, person (whoever you were) quoted above, let’s start with the fact that you came to an attorney to get a divorce.   You were already destroying your family as it existed before divorce.  No lawyer did that!

Or another trailer that discussed that the parties to divorce had “so many incentives to lie in Court.”   People have incentives to lie about many aspects of life…not just divorce….to get what they want.  Can I tell when my clients are untruthful?  Sometimes.  Do I let them go before a court and outright lie?  Absolutely not.  In fact, there are ethical cannons that prohibit lawyers from remaining on a case if they know a client is going to lie on the stand.  This trailer suggests that lawyers actually tell clients to make things up.  Now, I am not so naïve to think that this never happens. Clearly, the Florida Bar News   regularly publishes the names of attorneys who have been disciplined by, suspended from or actually disbarred from the Florida Bar.  Rest assured, however, that the names appearing are not all, and in fact are rarely family law attorneys.

Besides lying, people (and I mean the clients) are frequently less than truthful in disclosing all of their assets.  So what happens?   The other spouse’s attorney is entrusted in trying to discovery what the person is hiding.  Does that take time?  Yes…  Does that take money?  Yes.  But folks, the situation was not created by the attorney.   The true reality is that when people get divorced, usually one of the parties (and often both) is angry, really angry.  And these former “till death do us part” companions, are, at least figuratively, ready to see that death of the other party during the divorce process.

And, the film tells its viewers, divorce lawyers are in it for the money. Really? Did anyone consider that being a family lawyer is a job, and, as with anyone who has a job, we anticipate getting paid for performing that job? (Otherwise I could sit home and write blogs all day, which, really, is a lot more fun).  But truly, it is, in most cases, the parties…the soon to be ex spouses, who exacerbate the situation and cause cases to drag on and cost a heck of a lot more than they would if the parties were up front honest, understood that prolonged fighting only eats up the marital pie and, in a nutshell, can’t get past moving on.  Sure, there are some attorneys who do fuel the fire, but as one of those who likes to extinguish those “hot spots” with rationality, compassion and a true desire to ensure that a client has a fair resolution and that the parties can still talk to each other, I resent being grouped in with the few who do not share my view.

So maybe it’s my time to produce a movie.  I think I’ll call it “The Cause of Divorce…Marriage.”

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