One of my favorite Jon Bon Jovi hits is “It’s My Life”, particularly the inspirational lyric “I ain’t gonna live forever. I just wanna live my life alive.” This exemplifies the concept of being in the Now, not the Past or the Future, and is a standard meditation practice. We may not always achieve this objective, but it’s a noble aspiration.

As a family law practitioner, one of my many mantras which I have taught to all the young attorneys I have trained is, “It’s our client’s life. It’s merely our living.” This means that wherever you are in the process, and regardless of who started it, you are in charge. You can’t always control the process itself, but you can to some extent control how it proceeds, and you can always control your input into that process, which hopefully will lead to a satisfactory outcome.

For example, one client was exhibiting more than the usual amount of ambivalence about his decision to divorce his emotionally troubled wife. At the same time, he was under a lot of pressure from family and friends to go through with it. I assured him that he was the only pony I had in that race, and that I would support his decision, whatever it may be.

Another example is a client who discovered after the divorce was final that her now ex-husband had pulled a financial flim-flam on her while they were negotiating their settlement, to his great benefit but at her great expense. We reviewed it thoroughly, and after discussing all the options, I advised her that if we pursued it in court she likely would not walk out empty-handed. In fact it could have been far from it, potentially resulting in as much as a six-figure “adjustment” in her favor. However, I also advised her that it would be a time-consuming and costly endeavor to get to that point. She decided after much deliberation not to pursue it, telling me that it was worth it for her financially not to have to have that much contact fighting with someone as morally bankrupt as her ex. Again, I supported her decision.

The bottom line for us is that it is your life, and we respect that throughout the process. We analyze the facts of your case in depth, apply the applicable law to those facts, then discuss with you the various options available. Most often we also make recommendations based on that analysis. Then it is up to you to determine how best to proceed.

Pamela M. Copeland

Pamela M. Copeland is a New Jersey Supreme Court Certified Matrimonial Attorney, Mediator, and Collaborative Professional committed to providing you with the highest quality family law legal services at a reasonable cost.
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