No one to blame

I talk to a lot of people about their past; it's one of the requirements of being a family lawyer. I find out what they want and what they need, what they've been through and what they hope for, why they want to get divorced and why they are scared to take that first step. And no matter how many people I talk to, there is always a burning need to want right a past wrong. To have someone acknowledge what the other person did "to them", how the other person "failed the marriage", how the other person is to "blame". But here's the thing, you can't undo a past wrong, you can't change what happened, you can't seek your pound of flesh and expect it to make you feel better. Because while the past has passed and "wrongs" have been rung, what you can change is your future.

As a divorce attorney, I am often asked what can be "done" about what happened in the marriage. Is there punishment for infidelity? Is there punishment for laziness? Is there punishment for working too hard or not working at all or not caring enough or not being who you promised to be on your wedding day? Is there retribution that can be handed down by the judge? Will there be justice? Will it be fair?

And the answers are not simple, but there is one thing that remains true, for most family law cases, there is not a tremendous accounting for past wrongs. There is no winning or losing. Because a divorce is not a venue to seek vengeance; a divorce is not a method to change the past; a divorce won't undo what happened, but it can offer you the future.

Because we all make mistakes and we all (usually) stay too long and we all want to think the best of our spouse; until the time has come that we can't take it any longer, and we decide we owe ourselves more than just mediocrity at best, misery at worst. We endure so much and we try to hold steady and in that time the "wrongs" may continue to mount and your unhappiness will continue to grow. And no one is making you stay a minute longer, but if you do, you have yourself to hold accountable for that. A divorce will not make you happier immediately, but it will offer you a sense of peace, in knowing that the end is coming and in knowing that you are finally taking control.

So as a family law attorney I ask you not to seek retribution or justification from your attorney or the courts. Because we can't undo what has been done, but we can help you to move on to your own life and we can help you move into your future. We can help empower you to leave the past mistakes behind and prevent them in the future. A divorce may not change the past and it will not change how long you stayed and it will not change what you put up with or how stoic you were, but a divorce can help you do one thing for sure: it can give you the power to control your destiny.

No one owes you anything except you. You owe yourself a brighter future. You owe yourself the chance to be happy. You owe yourself the possibility of light and love. You owe yourself these things and only you have the power to make it happen. You got married and stayed married for however long it lasted; no one forced you to stay just like no one can force you to leave. But you can think for yourself and you can think of yourself and you can make the choice that is right for you. If it's today or tomorrow or next week or next year, you have the power to choose to stay or to go, so embrace what you can do and make the choice that's right for you. There is no one to blame and no one holding you back- make a decision today and take that first step.

After all, this is the life.