Disadvantages of collaborative divorce: Can't make spouse burn all his money & run on fear.
We need a pause before major life decisions - even divorce!

TV "Divorce Court" Judge: Real Divorce is Different, Here's How to Cope With It or Even Prevent It

In a radio interview with Deborah Moskovitch of "The Smart Divorce", Judge Lynn Toler, who was a real judge before presiding over "Divorce Court", and is also the author of My Mother’s Rules: A Practical Guide to Becoming an Emotional Genius, says:

  • Divorce is nothing like what you see on TV. The producers pick colorful characters who have one simple issue to resolve. A real divorce is long and complex, and almost everything happens outside of court.
  • You want someone to understand the nuances of your case, don't go to court, go to collaborative divorce.
  • Tell the judge the facts, not your conclusions and feelings. And exxagerating will blow your credibility.
  • Judges don't want to hear how you've been wronged unless it's something the judge can do something about. Fault divorce grounds were often unworkable in practice, but they addressed real injustices that still matter to people. Generally, emotional hurts in a marriage are not going to be dealt with in court. Get used to it, and move on. Living well is the best revenge. Don't keep "living in your divorce."
  • To get through a divorce, you need to learn how to have difficult conversations, and how to listen. Most people can't do those things, they just keep repeating themselves. Communication and listening skills can save your marriage, too, if you learn them in time.
  • Marriage and divorce are "institutions for grown people." Which means you need to be able to do things you don't want to do in the short term, to get what you want in the long term.
  • Marriage counseling is essential before marriage, and from time to time during marriage. You're nowhere near as emotionally intelligent and sensitive as you think you are. People don't know the reasons behind their spouses', and even their own, actions.
  • Most people don't want to look at what's wrong with them -- everyone has something wrong with them and it's better to know about it before it hurts you.
  • "Why don't battered women leave?" Because control-based domestic violence is a slow cycle, and by the time it gets bad they're in such a sick pattern of control that it's really hard to leave. The judge gives a chilling example of this. We need to educate teens on how to recognize and avoid abusive relationships before they get into them. 
  • There are sometimes isolated incidents of violence from the chaos of breaking up. There definitely are false abuse allegations, but not that often in her experience, at least as far as she was able to tell. It is often very hard to figure out who is telling the truth. "On occasion you are going to make the wrong call."
  • Abuse by women is increasing dramatically. Abuse is about power, and it increases as women's relative economic and social power increases.


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