History to Remember
It is important to remember that family courts did not always exist. Back as far as Old England itself and even into the 1970's in State of Rhode Island the Family Court itself did not exist. In fact, what we know as divorce and family court's today were part of the court that handled civil contracts.
It wasn't until the volume of cases began to rise and the court's saw the increasing number of issues regarding varying matters regarding families that the powers that be created a separate court from the superior courts to handle specifically those matters relating to family type issues.
With this in mind, let me show you how you can cope with your own Rhode Island Divorce more easily by making a single distinction in your mind.
Understanding What A Marriage Really Is!
When you got married you most likely did so because you established a "love" relationship with your spouse that was deep enough that you believed that you could make certain promises to one another and keep those promises. So, you both took your relationship beyond feelings and decided to to formalize it so you would both be recognized by others and by law as a single unit which carried with it certain benefits and liabilities relating to one another.
In short, you took the "Relationship" and formalized it so the law would recognize it as a "Marriage." When you get married, the Relationship itself (i.e. the feelings and emotions both spouses have toward one another) almost invariably does not change at the time you get married the only thing that happens is the creation of a legal relationship.
So how in the world does this help you cope with divorce, right?
Okay… here's how it helps. By understanding that these two things are different, you can address them more appropriately.
Understanding What A Divorce Really Is!
A "divorce" in the family court is a legal procedure to allow one or both parties to sever the legal contract they made that gained them benefits provided by law to those called "married."
A marriage simply creates a legal connection (a "contract") between you and your spouse.
During your legal contract you may have had children, acquired assets and accumulated debts.
Divorce is simply a legal procedure set up fairly sever the legal contract (called "marriage") between the two partners who made the contract.
So how are legal contract issues most often handled? If they are handled with a lawyer then the lawyer usually handles the majority of the legalities and advises you of your rights, alternatives and options. As the client, you then weigh those rights, alternatives and options using your own logic and reason and with the lawyer's advice you give your lawyer instructions on how you would like to proceed. If you handle this legal process yourself, then you may research your own rights, alternatives and options. Then, as a smart and prudent person would, hopefully you would make your decisions based upon your own logic and reason.
The Single Greatest Problem That Causes Contested Divorce Proceedings
Yet there is no denying the single greatest problem that arises in divorce proceedings.
The problem is that people more often than not pour their hurt, anger, rejection, betrayal and other strong emotions into their divorce proceeding. Though it is understandable, I truly believe that everyone could benefit from understanding the distinction that the hurt, anger, rejection, etc… are part of what you and your spouse believe divorce means to your relationship. It is the person's own projection of their emotional issues thrown into a logical legal proceeding.
There is relatively little argument against the fact that emotions, especially strong emotions, block your ability to think logically and make practical decisions based upon facts. It's like taking the alphabet and trying to do mathematical equations with them.
Too many people equate the Relationship with the process of addressing the breakdown of the Legal Contract called Marriage, namely the "Divorce process."
Your "Relationship" consists of the feelings, emotions, and level of intimacy you have between you and your spouse.
A "Marriage" on the other hand is the legal connection you have with your spouse. You are certainly free to disagree with me on this because religiously I have always understood it much differently, yet I've had my eyes opened quite a bit after years of divorce work and separating legal proceedings from religious beliefs.
So, what is the best way to handle a divorce? Two Steps,
1) Use your logic, reason and the advice of a good lawyer (or your own common sense) to address the resolution of your divorce.
2) Address your feelings by going to a good counselor or therapist to get some professional third-party assistance to help you with your feelings and emotions so that they don't exacerbate your problems by allowing your emotions to cause conflict in the court proceedings.
By separating the two aspects, you keep your RI Divorce proceeding from spiraling out of control and you are able to more smoothly handle your divorce process and maintain your mental health in the process.
All my Best to All Who Go Before the Rhode Island Family Court,
I am Attorney Christopher A. Pearsall and I am "The Rhode Island Divorce Coach."