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Building Bridges, Not Burning Them

by | Sep 22, 2016 | Family Law

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 a lot for the firm, including decorating each office. When she was setting up the office in my hometown, Gainesville, she brought a picture of a bridge.

Each one of our offices has artwork depicting a bridge. The firm logo has a family walking on a bridge. Shelia explained to me 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 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. I would argue that this is rarely wise. This strategy, 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.

A toxic, nasty divorce doesn’t benefit anyone. It will drive up attorney’s fees as the dueling attorneys send nasty letters and file extra motions. 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, although that relationship may be ending, you’ll still have to live with yourself.

I often tell clients in consultations that a nasty, drawn-out divorce doesn’t benefit anyone. Sometimes, they reply, “Except the attorneys.” I would argue that 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.

Mark haven’t gotten along in years. They’ve gotten to the point where they barely speak to one another. They know that the other parent is a good parent. They have a choice. They can approach this divorce as mature and reasonable people, who want their children to have a healthy relationship with the other parent, or they can fight it out, draw it out, and likely end up with the same result in court, except tens of thousands of dollars and a lot of added pain later. How they’ll be able to communicate with one another to co-parent later depends a lot on this decision.

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. 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 with establishing your best life and helping you build a bridge to your new normal.

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

Jennifer McCall