As a believing Christian I am often confronted with the question, “How do you do what you do while claiming to be a Christian?” I’ll save the theological response for another time, but my usual answer is this: “How does a Christian medical examiner do what he or she does?” When a person dies, the medical examiner does a forensic examination and issues a certificate of death. The M.E. didn’t kill the person.
Similarly, in my role as a Christian divorce attorney, I don’t kill marriages. I don’t even promote killing marriages. What I, and many other collaborative divorce attorneys like me, promote is damage control. For, unlike the medical examiner, who can do nothing for the deceased, divorce and family lawyers have a unique opportunity to help the individuals who are expected to survive and thrive after the death of a marriage.
How? Through a less-adversarial approach to resolving family conflict that has come to be known as Collaborative Divorce or Collaborative Law. The goal of this approach has nothing to do with promoting divorce, but rather is entirely focused on minimizing the devastation that frequently accompanies divorce: Devastation to the children; devastation to the finances; and devastation to the spouses themselves.
Even in the midst of divorce, most spouses genuinely want to do the right thing – They may just not agree on what the right thing is. Unfortunately, in most cases those individuals are thrust into a legal system that was designed to manufacture winners and losers. Think about it: In a criminal a defendant is “guilty” or “not guilty.” In a personal injury or products liability case the defendant is “liable” or “not liable.” In a breach of contract case the defendant “breached” or did not breach. Well, who wins in a family law case? (Insert punch line here).
The harsh reality for people of faith is that we live in a fallen world and in a fallen world people are going to divorce. We don’t have to like it and we don’t have to promote it. But, shouldn’t we, as believers, do what we can to promote peace, to facilitate resolution, and to help minimize the devastating impact of divorce?