Divorce is difficult for all parties. It’s an emotional process for family members, friends, and children alike. Sometimes, bumps in the road can be overcome, but other times divorce is a viable option that brings a fresh start for everyone. I sat down with divorce attorney Nathan Cliber, to hear some of his thoughts on the issue. Here’s what he had to say on the question, can divorce be good?
From sadness, confusion and anger, divorces come with a lot of emotions. Cliber explained that some people come into his office extremely mad and can’t bear to be in the presence of their soon-to-be ex. These cases, where both parties have extremely different opinions, can be the most difficult, but navigating this change often leads to better outcomes.
“We don’t have the power to make anyone behave a particular way,” Cliber said. “But every once in awhile, we get to turn one of those around and get people moving forward. The hurt rarely goes away by the time the divorce is over, but you can see it, you can see when people come to the realization that the other person isn't their enemy, especially when they have kids in common and they have to keep interacting one way or another.”
Especially with couples who share children, our team works to help people figure out what the right distance and structure should be in the future, so both parents can proceed happily.
“Divorce can be good, change can be good,” he said. “If things aren't good you have to change them to make them better.”
About 90 per cent of the time, people are coming into our offices because they’re in a painful, difficult, and bad situation. We’ve worked alongside domestic violence attorneys and prominent voices for survivors of domestic abuse - in those cases, divorce can be the key to a new way of life. Helping people transition out of a relationship that for whatever reason has been unhealthy, is often great for both parties.
There is this look people get, when they suddenly feel safer than they did before. They suddenly feel unburdened. There's an energy about a person, there's this new light you can see. When the situation has been bad, the case has been long, they’re terrified they're going to lose their kids or their house or whatever it is. In these cases, divorce can definitely be good.
We've seen many cases where families have put in a lot of time and money into divorces, but getting to see those same people move forward makes that effort worthwhile. Cliber shared the story of a recent client, explaining how keeping in touch after that client’s divorce demonstrated the benefits of getting out of an unhealthy relationship.
“This client still emails me every once in awhile,” he said. “I get to see his Facebook photos with his kids, and see how being mostly relieved of [his spouse’s] influence has positively impacted his family. I see many people who are very happy to be divorced.”
Let me explain, divorce can be very beneficial for people who are determined to have a better future. If we can help people focus on going forward, than even if they have to slog through whatever the consequences of those past actions are, a divorce can put new opportunities on the horizon.
“I liken the process to getting tattoos,” he said.“Some people say their tattoos don’t hurt. I haven't found that to be the case, I think they hurt badly. But there's something beautiful at the end, there's something you want when the hurt goes away.”
In closing, Cliber shared his own experience going through divorce, and how it helps him relate to his clients. He said even though he went through the “kindest, simplest divorce ever” he still “lost his mind” and can relate to some of the pain and emotions his clients experience. But navigating through this divorce process with the future on the radar, he said, can be a chance to move forward and have a fresh start.
“I don't think divorce can be realistically expected, ever, not to be painful,” he said. “There’s a lot of work that needs to be done to move forward, but if the divorcee works hard and is willing to engage, people can move forward, and improve their lives for the better.”