I like to learn things. I admit it; I do. Back in the days when I was in school, I used to love the day that the teacher handed out the syllabus and I got to see all the things I was going to get to learn over the course of the semester. I know, right? Nerd alert.
But really, I did! And sometimes I think nostalgically back to that time. But I know not everyone feels that way and, frankly, even I have my limits. It’s easy for me to feel overwhelmed or like something is out of my wheelhouse and to just abandon it. I’m interested in science, for example, but if a description gets too technical for me, I’ll bail.
I also have limited time. I’ve got two young kids and, while my intentions are good, sometimes follow through is a thing. I’ll sign up for an e-course on potty training or photography or gardening, and I just won’t do it. The time will come and the kids will be keeping me busy, or I’ll need to put away the laundry, or I’m reading a book that I just can’t put down and it just won’t happen.
I’m sure our divorce seminar is like that, too. I mean, besides family law attorneys, who is really, genuinely interested in divorce? I can’t imagine many people find it intellectually enthralling in a way that means that they’d just learn about it for fun. It’s probably not that enjoyable.
Not only that, but you’re busy. You have a life. A job, kids, and a marriage that isn’t in the best place. I’m sure there’s a million other things, too. And maybe you’re just in the middle of a really good book, or your kid has a baseball game, or you just want to go to bed because you’re beat – and its hard to find a time that feels good to sit down and learn about divorce, of all things.
Some things, too, can make us feel extra scared. Maybe learning about divorce empowers you, but it also intimidates you. While you know you will likely grow stronger through the process, the actual adversity part is intimidating. Besides, not knowing what’s going to happen – especially with your kids, your finances, your house, etc – is scary, too.
All of that sort of begs the question: Do I really need to go to a seminar to learn about divorce?
I may be biased, of course, after having taught many of them myself over the last 11+ years, but I do think its tremendously helpful – though I can certainly sympathize with struggling to find a good time to do it.
It’s incredibly helpful to have a sense of the divorce process. In fact, if I could distill the seminar into one thing, it would be that: how to START the process of your divorce so you don’t cut yourself off at the knees. What do I mean? Well, when I meet with a lot of people at first, they’re really upset. They’re deeply hurt by his adultery. Or they’ve suffered through his drug or alcohol addiction, his narcissism, his personality disorder, or other mental illness for long enough. They’ve been at odds financially, they’ve got a ton of debt, or the situation is volatile and unstable. It’s a deeply painful way to live.
=When you start with that pain, it’s easy to make a knee jerk decision that may or may not end you up where you’d like to be at the end of this. In fact, those decisions can often further deteriorate an already damaged relationship, which can make continued coparenting difficult after the divorce. It can make the actual divorce itself take longer, cost more, and take a greater physical and emotional toll on the parties
Technically, you could avoid the seminar. You could go in for an initial consultation, discuss your case one-on-one with an attorney, and then decide how to move forward.
Though we often do a fair amount of client education in an initial consultation, it’s not the primary goal. We try to make sure a client understands the options, but the main focus is on the client’s goals and how to achieve them.
The seminar, on the other hand, focuses on the actual, logistical, legal process of divorce – in more detail than I’m ever able to provide in a consultation.
Obviously, there’s significant value for BOTH – in the sense that you need to have those one on one meetings, and you also should probably understand the context of the decisions that you’ve making. But I don’t think that just a consultation is the best way to get the broader sense.
You can get divorced without attending the seminar. But I do think that its well worth the hour and a half you’d spend on the seminar. It’s definitely worth taking the time to make sure you have the information you need to make these big decisions.
Not interested, still? That’s fine. You don’t have to be actually interested in divorce. You’ll learn a lot, and we’ll break it down so that the concepts don’t overwhelm you. They’re also taught live and in person by a real attorney, so you can ask questions if there’s something you don’t understand.
Seriously, I recommend the seminar. You don’t have to take my recommendation. You do you, boo. But I think you may live to regret it if you don’t. And, in any case, you’ll see one of us in real life, which can go a long way towards helping you decide who to hire.