Holidays are funny– it’s that time of year when a lot of couples decide to get hitched, and it is also common to hear couples have decided to split. If your friends are in the latter category, you may feel torn trying to figure out what should you do in response. Here’s my advice: try to see no evil, hear no evil, and speak no evil.
Inevitably, one or both of your friends will want to tell you their version of what led to the breakdown. What I have learned over the years as a divorce lawyer is that there really is her version, his version, and then the truth is somewhere in the middle. Each person can only tell you the story from his/her own point of view, but if you can just take a few steps back (rather than getting sucked in or pulled to one side) you may find things are not so black and white, and indeed you may come to appreciate a bit of what I see everyday, which is a splendid spectrum of varying shades of gray.
Unless you are the actual judge that gets to decide the couple’s fate, why do you need to see all the evidence and hear all the gory details about the demise of a marriage? Just accept that it is not pretty, and that these situations will bring out the worst in people. Fear and anger drive people to do horrible things. Desperate people often take desperate measures, and unless properly guided, their actions often have horrific consequences. Do you really want to be a witness to all of that?
Unfortunately, it is part of my professional duty to hear about evil and see evil every day, and then it is my job to avoid a bloodbath by quietly finding legal solutions that preserve a family’s right to confidentiality. Dealing with trauma situations requires a highly specialized skill set. So, unless you are asked in a professional role to play a part in addressing a family’s crisis, don’t feel obligated to play any part beyond neutral Switzerland. No one can suck you into an awkward situation if you just remember to hear no evil, see no evil and above all speak no evil.
By Regina A. DeMeo, Esq.