The Power of An Apology After Separation
I have spent a good part of my week this week in court.
This is not uncommon for me, and I am finding myself more and more away from the office these days, and instead fighting on the front lines.
Whilst being in court all day may seem glamorous to some (cue the Boston Legal music and glamorous Instagram life façade), the reality is that the Family Court is a place colloquially known amongst Family Lawyers as “the place of broken dreams.”
No one actually starts off their life with the intention of stepping foot into the Family Court. The idea of lengthy delays, arbitrary and protracted litigation couldn’t possibly sound appealing to anyone.
And yet with 1 in 3 marriages now ending in divorce, the queue to have matters dealt with by a Judge in the Family Court mirrors that of an attraction line at Disneyland.
Spend the day in the Family Court and you will come face to face with litigious arguments about who parents better. Who is more equipped to live with the children. Who cleaned more. Who worked more. Who paid more.
Often such arguments seem to be at odds with what was once preceded with sentiments such as “My partner is amazing. I love them. I can’t wait to cook for them and build a life with them.”
What has become more and more apparent working in family law, is that the more anxious, frustrated and litigious a matter is, the more obvious the breakdown of communication between the parties.
In some matters, the breakdown is inevitable and irreparable. In cases of family violence, it would be unreasonable to expect anything different.
Removing those matters from the equation, often we as Lawyers hear the following message conveyed in different ways:
“My partner was not faithful. They never appreciated me. They never communicated with me. They never realised how much I did for them. They were absent.”
What I have come to realise is that more often than not, behind the blame and the hurt, is often the following unspoken message:
“They never said Sorry.”
And there it is. The ugly truth. Words so fundamental to us healing and moving on as human beings. The acknowledgment of error and participating in the breakdown of something which was once so sacred.
Words rarely spoken in the foyer of the Court complex.
Words that have the ability to change the dynamic of a dispute, and to steer the course of litigation onto the path of amicable resolution.
Imagine for a moment instead of Litigants going round for round in the Family Court, exposing their former partners apparent failures and misgivings before a Judge, trying to score points like a World Champion Boxing match, they instead approached their former spouse when the relationship broke down and said:
“I’m sorry. I’m sorry that we didn’t make it. I’m sorry that we are here. I’m sorry for the part that I played in this.”
Simply by saying sorry, the ability to avoid the court process improves dramatically. It has the potential to bring parties closer to settling matters without litigious intervention. It allows trust to be rebuilt and communication to be re-established.
Communication being one of the greatest issues between parties in the family court today.
So, from the front lines, here is my message to you.
Before you walk into your Lawyers office, application ready in hand, try it. Say it. Say it wholeheartedly and release yourself from the pain and process involved in litigating Family Court matters.
Open yourself to the possibility of moving on from a place of hurt and start to rebuild your future. A place where communication flows freely.
Once you have taken the plunge, I look forward to assisting you rebuild the rest of your life, in a space of harmony.