It is funny to me how the news is making such a big deal about a very standard request that we make in divorce cases. Given that half of all divorces involve an affair, adultery claims are not so shocking in my world. The emotional harm is not something any court can really address, but we do care about the financial impact to the family. We often track how much someone has spent on an affair to see if there was a substantial dissipation of marital assets for a non-marital purpose.
Various articles talk about the fact that Iverson’s estranged wife initially said the divorce had nothing to do with his affairs, and now they claim she is changing her tune. Here is a newsflash: she is not changing her tune– she just got smart and hired a lawyer that probably explained the financial implications affairs may have when it comes to the division of property and/or alimony.
I often remind my clients that divorce court is not criminal court– we are not here to punish the perpetrators of an offense. Judges and lawyers understand that adultery is a symptom of a larger issue, and for us this is just business. It is a partnership that is dissolving, and we need to figure out the fairest way to make that happen.
In divorce court, the issues are so often cut and dry for us, not because we do not care, but because we do not have to continue to live with the financial and emotional aspects of the divorce once the case is over– only those going through it will continue to feel the ripple effect of the divorce in their personal lives. This is why I encourage my clients to rein in their emotions as quickly as possible during a divorce, so that they can make sound and rational financial decisions that are NOT based on their emotions.
Anger is what fuels litigation, and attorneys can make a fortune off of someone’s emotions. But ask yourself this question: if your house was on fire, would you call the fire department or the gas company? Calling in a hard-core litigator is like calling the gas company to come pour fuel on the fire. I prefer to be the fire department that brings a ton of water to try and literally help you save your home.