3.05.2018

Is Divorce Ever Easy?

Is divorce ever easy?  It’s Over Easy is a website that takes couples through divorce for a starting fee of $750.  Legal Zoom has offered a divorce platform called “Wevorce” since 2012, calling it the premier self-guided divorce solution, for $949.  State filing fees and procedural rules are still required, so any attempt to DIY divorce without an attorney is imprudent and irresponsible at best.

Some think divorce is becoming trendy.  Angelina Jolie’s divorce lawyer now offers quickie divorces online, according to the NY Times, calling the Beverly Hills lawyer “glamorous.”  Here’s the rationale – “Since couples now meet online, plan weddings online, cheat online and find couples therapists online, it is only logical that they should be able to divorce online.”  Albert Mohler discusses why divorce is never easy, suggesting that a change in marriage’s endurance led to a change in gender qualifications for marriage.  

Regardless of how it is dressed up, the effects of divorce are generally earth-shattering, as a recent article in The Federalist points out, “no matter how anyone tries to glam it up or brush it off, divorce is never over easy.” In fact, the article reminds us that “for children and nearly all couples, there is no such thing as an easy divorce. And when we tell them divorce is not that big of a deal, we invalidate their pain.”  Author Pat Conroy has said “each divorce is the death of a small civilization.”

Divorce is pervasive with pain and loss - emotionally, socially, financially, physically, and it should never be something easily entered into or done without the advice of wise spiritual and legal counsel.  American philosopher George Santayana in Reason in Society proffers that “no suggested substitute for the family is in the least satisfactory. Those forms of free love or facile divorce to which radical opinion and practice incline in these days tend to transform the family without abolishing it. The family in a barbarous age remains sacrosanct and traditional,” in its near perfection.  Marriage’s strength, however, has been subject to attack through the spiritual warfare of divorce.   The permanence aspect of the marital bond is biblically clear from Genesis 2:24, as marital partners become “one flesh,” explaining the pain experienced in divorce by separating that oneness. 

What can the law, if anything, do to strengthen marital permanence?  There are alternatives to divorce, particularly for the Christian couple, and Christian attorneys can be prepared with such alternatives when distressed clients think the only solution to their marriage problems is divorce.  Understanding and Encouraging Realistic Reconciliation in an Age of Divorce offers some solutions.  Furthermore, Scripture encourages alternative dispute resolution (I Corinthians 6).  Even if dissolution is the ultimate outcome, communication, mediation, negotiation, arbitration, and collaborative law can be better methods of problem solving in family contexts.  Litigation – online or in person - is not the only way to solve marital problems.  The truth is divorce is never easy.

4 comments:

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  2. Laura Wasser, the Hollywood lawyer you touched on is interesting to me, because she wrote a book about how divorce doesn't need to tear a family apart or destine you for bankruptcy, and how it really can be easy, and a "pain free" process. However, like you said, it really never is; no matter how you slice it, it's still a divorce, it's still a separation from the original design for the family unit and the repercussions for the parties involved and the children, if there are any, is without question.

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  3. I honestly think it is sick that companies are capitalizing on people's pain in this way, especially since they are aware of all the state filing fees and procedural requirements that still apply and yet do not offer the same kind of necessary counseling that a licensed attorney can give.

    I had never realized that telling people divorce is not a big deal is actually minimizing their pain. Divorce is so common that most people tend to brush it off as inconsequential; and yet the horrific part of it all is that commonality does not equal triviality. The fact that murder is common does not diminish in the slightest the emotional, psychological, and spiritual agony that one feels when a loved one is murdered. The same applies to divorce.

    As Pat Conroy pointed out, "each divorce is the death of a small civilization." If the family is the basic unit of society, and is thus a microcosm of a society in the same way that a cell is a microcosm of a human being, then that truly is the case. And if it truly is the case, we as a society should be doing everything we can to prevent divorce, not accelerate it. This especially true when it comes to our laws.

    Although there are legitimate reasons to divorce a couple (abuse, adultery, etc), we should be limiting our laws to truly examine the breakdown of the marriage and grant divorce for those limited reasons instead of allowing "drive-through divorce."

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  4. Roneesha WilliamsMarch 23, 2018 at 3:30 PM

    Even though I have not gone through the experience of my parents go through a divorce, I have witnessed my cousin go through one. Divorce is not easy even if one spouse says that it will be. Companies like this should be shutdown. I do not see how a company, in good conscious, would want to try and capitalize off of vulnerable people. My cousin described her divorce as losing part of her soul. Being on the outside and watching my cousin go through her divorce hurt me so I can only imagine how I might feel going through the real thing. Divorce is never easy like this company is trying to market.

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