Building Bridges, Not Burning Them

Building Bridges, Not Burning Them

Posted By Jennifer McCall, Gainesville Divorce Attorney || 22-Sep-2016

The Manely Firm, P.C. has six locations so far. We are continuing to grow. Our founding attorney is Michael Manely, the only attorney to have a unanimous win before the United States Supreme Court on a family law case. His wife, Shelia Manely, was my classmate in law school. She does many, many things for the firm.  It may sound trite, but one of the many things includes decorating each office. This is actually critical to presenting ourselves to our clients and the public in a very meaningful and accurate way.  Let me tell you how.

When she was setting up my office in my hometown, Gainesville, she brought a picture of a bridge.  Every one of our offices has several pieces of artwork depicting a bridge. The firm logo shows a family walking across a bridge. Shelia explained to me how the artwork, how our logo, encompasses our firm philosophy. Every day, I see the bridge and I am reminded of the important work we do and I am reminded of the firm’s philosophy on how to approach that family-centered work.

We are in the business of building bridges, not burning them. We help families build bridges to their new normal. This is especially important if you have children. Although you will be divorced, your relationship with your ex is far from over. You will need to co-parent with your ex for a long, long time.

When you leave a job or most relationships, you can burn that bridge if you choose. Regardless of the reason for the demise of that relationship, this is rarely wise. Burning bridges, however, is definitely not wise when you’ll be co-parenting for a number of years. We help clients remember that their ultimate goal is the best interests of their child, not just exacting revenge. We help clients remember that they have many, many days ahead of them and those that are burdened by anger are fairly quick to pass.

A toxic, nasty divorce doesn’t benefit anyone. It will drive up attorney’s fees as the dueling attorneys send nasty letters, file extra motions and run off to court every opportunity they can create. It will hurt any chance you have at ever getting along. Adding the hurt of a nasty divorce will only harm your relationship further and unnecessarily. A nasty, drawn out divorce will also hurt your peace. Remember, even though that relationship may be ending, you’ll still have to live with yourself.

I often tell clients that a nasty, drawn-out divorce doesn’t benefit anyone. Sometimes, they reply, “Except the attorneys.” Actually, it doesn’t really benefit the attorney either. I certainly don’t want to be an attorney who added pain to an already painful situation. I also hope that my clients will all remember me fondly, as someone who was truly looking out for them, as someone who steered them toward a productive peace rather than a destructive war.

While we will always be zealous advocates for you, we will always keep in mind your long term best interests. You need to win the war, not just the immediate battle. You need to cross the bridge, not torch it.  One day when your attorneys are gone, you will have to go on with your life. You will have to co-parent with that spouse you divorced. We want to help you create your best life and help you build a bridge to your new normal.

Here’s to that bridge! Is it time to cross?

Jennifer McCall

Categories: Family Law

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