It is mentioned quite often that humans are creatures of habit. In this fluid world, expectancy is cherished and appreciated. Humans seek comfort in routines and the value of predictability.
In family law, however, change is imminent. There exists the prospect of new custodial arrangements between parents. Potential shifts in marital assets loom ahead. An individual, after residing in a home for several years becomes vulnerable to living at a new address. Variations of retirement plans and goals may lie ahead. New relationships happen. Individuals that have been together for almost half of their lives begin courting new love interests. Parties that have grown accustomed to hanging out at the same sports bar or “dining- out spot” may now feel compelled to go elsewhere. New church memberships occur. Certainly, change is intertwined with many domestic law issues.
Too often, however, change is synonymous with “loss,” when indeed, change presents the opportunity for growth. French author, Andre Gide, commented, that “one does not discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time."
As lawyers for clients facing change, we must encourage them to “discover new lands.” We must help our clients place a premium on setting new goals and facing the challenges of change head- on. After hearings, status conferences, and mediations, our clients shake our hands, and are faced with the daunting task of putting their life on track and mapping out the direction they shall proceed in.
As their counsel, we must endeavor to empathize with our clients, and while in the fray with them, encourage them that “this moment too shall pass.”
Letting go of old ways of doing things does not involve giving up...it involves moving on.
Jeremy J. Abernathy