The Making of a Lawyer: Growing beyond preconceived notions of Family Law

It is amazing how law school changes the way the mind works. Students enter into the hallowed halls with grand notions of how the world works. It does not matter how old the student is, or how much life experience he or she has. Every law student begins the journey with the same “skull full of mush!”[1] But, if we are lucky we will leave thinking like lawyers! Now in my second year of law school, I find myself questioning everything that I have ever believed about the judicial system. This, I have been assured by my professors is the normal process.

As I began law school, I believed that I would never be able to represent anyone in a divorce proceeding due to my faith and family values. Although I have gone through a divorce myself, the very thought of being part of breaking up the marriage of another bothers me. One of the most important statements made by the officiant of a marriage ceremony comes from the Bible, “[w]hat therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.” (Mark 10:9 New International Version) I will always hold this to be a sacred command. However, now that I am taking the law school course of Family Law, I question whether all couples are truly joined together by God. Free will is something that God has given to all of humanity. God may not be surprised by the decisions we make, but he does not make those decisions for us. If he did, no decision could possibly be a bad one!

DivorceDivorce has become so common place that no one is ever really shocked when a marriage ends. I have experienced divorce, both as a child and as a party to the divorce. No matter which side one is on, the result is equally tragic. Unfortunately, as tragic as the destruction of marriage is, the result of remaining in a toxic marriage can be equally, if not more destructive. In divorce, I do not believe there are winners, as everyone suffers a measure of loss. Sure, the lawyers benefit by getting paid. But if they are honest about it, they feel the loss at some level as well.

RingsIn Louisiana we have what is called Covenant marriage. Covenant marriage is designed to protect the Holy bond of matrimony. This is accomplished by requiring spouses to commit to working out difficulties arising in marriage through cooperation and counseling. Before entering into a Covenant marriage the couple is required to read the Louisiana State Pamphlet on Covenant Marriage and sign a declaration of agreement. Then the couple must go through premarital counseling with either clergy, or other qualified counselor. Although there are grounds for which divorce may be granted under Covenant marriage, the rules by which it is governed are very strict. My marriage to my wife is a Covenant marriage, and it is wonderful!

Once I am admitted to practice law in Louisiana I will have to decide whether I am willing to represent clients in divorce proceedings. At this time I am still uncertain, but contemplating the possibility. There are circumstances where I believe divorce is the right course of action. However, all efforts should be made to reconcile and save marriage under the principals of Covenant marriage. Even if a couple has contracted marriage under the standard marriage laws, the principals of Covenant marriage, in my opinion could save many marriages from destruction.

[1] Bridges, J., Thompson, R. C., Paul, R., Willis, G., Jenkins, G., Thompson, W., Williams, J., … Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment, Inc. (2003). The paper chase. Beverly Hills, Calif: 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment.

“Divorce Signpost Means Custody Split Assets And Lawyers” Photo by Stuart Miles. Published on 18 March 2014, downloaded from http://www.freedigitalphotos.net

“Ring Stock” Photo by Salvatore Vuono. Published on 26 November 2009, down loaded from http://www.freedigitalphotos.net

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