Category Archives: Temporary Restraining Order

Reader Suggestions, and a Word of Caution

I’m partial to reader topic suggestions, and a good one came in today from a submitter who will probably want to remain anonymous: “I’m always partial to the infidelity but we’re trying to repair the marriage topic.” That gave me an idea – I will briefly touch on that topic, but it brings me to something I feel really needs to be discussed more openly and frequently.

As you would imagine, infidelity, among a number of other potentially-infuriating discoveries, is a situation I deal with all the time in my professional capacity as both a divorce litigator and mediator.

What do you do when you find out your spouse is cheating, but you don’t want to jump to divorce? Of course, the option for couples therapy exists. The opportunity, once tempers have cooled, to engage in a productive discussion with a qualified professional may work wonders. Having an open channel of communication can be an invaluable tool in progressing to a mediated divorce agreement that both parties can live with without any of the destructive anger or animosity that so often colors divorces.

But what if it doesn’t work? What if there’s no way to avoid a divorce? And what if you can’t communicate and it gets to the point where, frankly, “either (s)he goes, or I go?”

When high emotions are involved, I often see divorces “kick-started” by the filing of a Domestic Violence Temporary Restraining Order; in effect, utilizing this as a tool to force the other party from the home. It happens all the time and it always results in misery. This is not, of course, to make light of situations of actual domestic violence – but to warn that it is used as a tool more often than I care to see.

I strongly caution against reflexively and angrily acting in any situation; twice so when a marriage is involved; and thrice so when there are children born of the marriage. It is precisely because of the effect visible anger has on children that I always recommend a cooling-off period before any serious action is taken. All too often, I see clients of all genders rush to file Domestic Violence actions, forcibly removing their spouses from their homes, in a mix of both stark revenge and punitive rage. These sorts of rash decisions can be life-altering and devastating, both emotionally and financially, to a family. When both sides hire attorneys and run to court, spending upward of $10,000.00 between the two parties for this one incident alone (before the divorce is even filed!) oftentimes, parents become shoehorned into a parenting time schedule that is imposed upon them without regard to their or their children’s lives and schedules. This schedule is then utilized as a vital component in determining child support figures either at that time or later on in the litigation.

If you see an attorney who recommends this as a strategy to kick-start a divorce, you should probably take a step back and ask yourself if what may work instead is a period of physical separation, followed by an honest dialogue, perhaps utilizing the services of an experienced and trained mediator such as Rick Silver of the Law Offices of Matthew C. Johnston, LLC. Mr. Silver is available to answer your questions about this or any other topic related to divorce and divorce mediation at 973-584-5402. He can also be reached at yourfamilylawyers@att.net.

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Filed under Divorce, Domestic Violence, Mediation, Temporary Restraining Order