Patience: A Virtue Needed in Family Law Litigation

May 20th, 2014 by

Patience-300x300Everyone recognizes the importance of virtue and striving for moral excellence. We know that patience is a quality which has value and constitutes good moral principle, however, the reality of implementing patience in our lives can be quite difficult at times. It can be especially hard to exercise patience when faced with family law litigation. During the process, you will often feel like you’re at the end of your rope, and you would do anything to just be done. The challenge of this process lies in finding patience for circumstances that are out of your control.  An understanding of this particular challenge will boost your coping ability and patience for the overall process.

Below are a few examples of necessary patience when navigating through Family Law litigation:

Patience to not engage in responsive behavior:  This is tough. When faced with confrontational behavior, it’s human nature to push back. You know you’re in the right and you want to stand up and be heard. STOP! Your children are watching, and you must exercise the utmost control. You have to communicate whether you want to or not. You can respond with reflexive bad behavior or you can take the high road. It is your choice. Take a deep breath and walk away. You can establish boundaries for yourself and develop a better way to deal with the situation. You may be surprised to see that if you walk away enough times, it may actually stop the bad behavior.

Patience to disclose your assets and to cooperate with the discovery process:  The divorce process is very detailed. It is critical to your case that you disclose all aspects of your financial affairs. This can be very frustrating. It is a joint account after all. You assume that your spouse knows of all the details, so why are they asking you? That may be true, but the Family Law system has very specific rules and requirements, and your cooperation is necessary to move the case forward. Find your patience to locate the required documents, and get it off of your “to do” list.

Patience to ensure you have the entire financial picture before settling your case:  You want this over today. You say you don’t care about the outcome, and you lose patience for the process itself. This statement can result in severe consequences. If you don’t wait to determine the entire financial picture, you will be sorry when you see your former spouse with property or assets that you should have received during the divorce. Additionally, slow down and think about the implementation stages of your divorce and the tax consequences of your decisions. Take the time to do this right.

Patience with the Court System:  We often tell clients that one day in the court system is like 30 days in your everyday life. Continuances are frequent. Sometimes your court dates get bumped by other cases that aren’t yet finished. These are issues that are beyond your control. It is just too taxing to waste your energy on issues outside of your control. Focus on what you can control.

Patience with yourself:  Let’s not forget that the stress of Family Law litigation often leads to one’s own self doubt. The roller coaster of emotions can take it’s toll. Make sure you are getting the support you need to move forward. Talk to your counselor, life coach, pastor, priest or religious leader, and join a group to help deal with this difficult time. You will move on, and this is an opportunity for immense personal growth.

The French Sculptor, Auguste Rodin, said it best: “Patience is also a form of action.” Empower yourself with patience, and move forward…one day at a time.

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