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Truth or Troll?

I figured out decades ago that while a court battle is not about truth. I even wrote a column in the 90s on “legalpad.com” called “It Ain’t About The Truth” where I opined on various court cases, including the OJ trial, and the (in)famous McDonald’s coffee case.

A court battle is meant to be (and might work as) a means of approximate reconstruction of what happened in the past. Who did what? Did OJ murder Nicole? Was Stella in the wrong for having spilled coffee that was so hot she needed skin grafts? (There is far more to this case then you read about in the paper, I promise!)
But also decades ago I figured out that divorce was not about “what happened”. It is all about emotions and people and relationships. I realized battles were bad for emotions and people and relationships. I didn’t need to figure out they were bad for kids—that I knew from losing my father due to the way my mother acted out her disappointment  in him.

He didn’t cheat on her—he didn’t drink. He didn’t say mean things. As far as I could see, he didn’t do anything wrong. No one else got divorced in those days–the 50s. I just know (now) that my mother had problems with men—she wasn’t real good at friendships with women either—and I didn’t see my father much after the divorce was finally over. Or in the YEARS between the day he left the house, and the day he remarried… in the 60s. Or after that until 1985.

So seeing the mess that came from the clash of courts and families was not rocket science to me. In the early days of my career (California had been no fault  for decades in 1983) many lawyers seemed to feel the same way, so we settled every case. Even though I was pretty new, I was always good at negotiating and settling cases (remember that first case I wrote about?) so I did well. REALLY well.

But right about the time I came into law, civility was on the wane, and by the time my consulting career (where I went to find “win win solutions) came to a crashing halt in the mid 90s, I could see there was a real need for divorce practice to change– so I set about changing it. In the post job loss mid-to-late 90s I started my mediation practice. In the 2000s I had started a collaborative group in Orange County. I kept doing  good work for couples who knew court was bad until the economic collapse of 2008.

But despite all slow but steady change in divorce practice,  it just wasn’t done to say that court was flat out bad for families. I mean, I said it in essays on Divorcenet, but not to other lawyers or even to the public. From the first day I placed my bio on Divorcenet I had calls—many of the public seemed to know the courts were not the place they wanted to be. But when I said this in front of a Family Court judge her face went frozen in shock. When I tried to tell other lawyers not everyone wanted to fight they scoffed—or worse.

But now this fact is being stated and HEARD—thanks in large part to Mark Baer, with whom I have become friends, thanks to social networking.

So I find it disheartening that so many people are hearing him and thanking him…and disheartening that so many people on Avvo call me a troll for saying the same thing.

So I guess we humans are pretty stubborn. Study after study has shown that people think OTHERS are off course but they are not….others are wrong but they are not… still. Decade after decade. What seems obvious to me—that in any dispute BOTH sides think they are right—and in a certain sense they both ARE right—seems to be one of those things where I am in a minority.

Is this because I am an “HSP”? (A real anomalous set of skills and abilities found in  of 20% of humans, and decidedly mixed bag… see http://richawriter.hubpages.com/hub/Its-Good-To-Be-Sensitive-25-Wonderful-Aspects-Of-Highly-Sensitive-People)– which we have and are  and can’t NOT have and be???

I don’t know. I DO know… this is a truth. (Two truths). No one sets out to be Bad and Wrong, and courts suck for families. 99.9% of the time.

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