Friday, December 17, 2010

Work Your Shit Out

As a child of divorce, I understand that sometimes people stupidly enter into romantic relationships without fully thinking things through.  I have several friends who got married too young and whose marriages didn't survive law school or aren't going to survive their first two years as lawyers. Or maybe one of the spouses decided that the other one was no fun anymore and went and found someone else who was more fun.  That said, there is no reason your divorce has to be ugly.  When you get divorced, work your shit out.  I could give you 100 reasons why working things out will make you a happier person and why being mad at each other only does you, and everyone around you, more harm.  But this post is not about your happiness. I do not care about your happiness.  At all.  In fact, I think far too many people have an idealized view of marriage are desperate and will jump into a wedding with the first person they see (i.e. women ages 24-27), which is really why so many marriages fall apart.  So to those people, I say you get what you deserve.

My message tonight, though, is motivated by where I am right now. Sitting at my desk on Friday night at 8pm.  Now, many of my law school friends are currently working 70+ hours a week at a BigLaw job in New York, Chicago,  Los Angeles, or San Francisco.  Yeah...well...they expected to be slaves work late at night and on weekends.  I am not at work this late because I have a slave-driver boss who emails me every 30 minutes asking me to tie his shoes.  No, I am here because a couple can't work their shit out.

Hawaii family law is ridiculous.  Among its many asinine rules is one that requires family courts to divide the parties' property within one-year of the divorce decree being entered.  Seems fair enough.  When you're divorced, a decree is entered saying you no longer have to put up with each other. Well, sometimes couples do stupid, petty shit to each other that lead to delay.  So sometimes the family courts grant the divorce but then decide issues of property division at a later date.

Here's why this is a problem in Hawaii:  If the family court does not divide the parties' property within one year from the date of the divorce decree, they cannot do it. Ever.  The family court loses jurisdiction. I know you're asking: Oh my gosh, so what happens?  Well, for starters, no one knows.  That's right, the courts here haven't really come up with an answer.  Basically, the judges try to find ways to show, in the record, that the family court "implicitly" divided the property before one year was up.  Yes, I agree, that IS cutting the bologna thin.  Essentially, there are cases that say as long as the court "implicitly divided" the property before one year was up, then it can "disburse" the property any time it wants.  So what does any of this have to do with me and my Friday night?  Well, I am sitting at my desk trying to find ANY evidence that the family court "implicitly" divided this couple's house.  Yep, this couple is fighting over a house because the husband deeded it to his friend for $1.00 and the wife is a little pissed about it.

So look, when you get divorced (and if you're a lawyer reading this, chances are you'll get divorced someday), do a recent law school graduate a favor and work your shit out.  Be reasonable.  Don't drag things through the court system just to piss each other off.  Let me go home on a Friday night.  Here, I will even offer you some assistance.  You can call the guy below (note: I do NOT actually endorse this guy.  This is a real lawyer that should be punched in the face for representing everything that is wrong with lawyers...but, to be fair, if this couple had hired him, I would not be here right now and they would not have wasted over $73,000 in attorneys' fees):

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