Pink released a song in 2001 called, "Family Portrait." It is about a child who suffers through the failed relationship of her parents. Family Portrait was the anthem of my life when I was 13-years-old as it was released at the same time my parents were going through their own separation. It was as if Pink was reading my mind. "I promise I'll be better . . . I'll do anything," as if something I had done had caused my parent's separation. As if I could have done something to prevent the destruction of my family. This is a tough burden to bear as a 13-year-old.
Though my parents separated when I was 13 years old, it was not until seven years later that they initiated the divorce proceedings. Those seven years of my life were really difficult. I felt as if my entire world shattered, but mostly I felt abandoned by my father. I also felt that it was my fault; that I had done something wrong to cause my parents to separate. Perhaps I didn't shield enough women from my father's line of sight or perhaps I said something to my mother that I shouldn't have. These were the thoughts racing through my 13-year-old brain.
When my father moved out of the house, he made no effort to call me, or to see me. He had his reasons, but as a 13-year-old, I could not understand them. My mother was so devastated and lost in her own grief of losing my father, that it was as if she also had abandoned me. I was forced to become an adult, independent, at the age of 13.
I remember watching "Mrs. Doubtfire" on television, I wondered why I couldn't visit my father and have Chinese food with him like the kids in the movie. "Why can't we be like a normal family?" I wondered. Compared to the life I was living, the kids in "Mrs. Doubtfire" were living a "normal" life.
Today, my relationship with my father is strained, in large part, because of his absence during my most difficult childhood years, my teenage years. Had they filed for divorce rather than just separate, I know that my relationship with my father would be a more positive and healthy one. The Court would have made it easier for my father to see me and spend time with me through court ordered visitation; something that never happened because my parents were too lost in their own emotions to see the pain that I was experiencing.
When parents are going through a divorce, they often forget to think about how the process will affect their child. They get lost in their emotions and are unable to see the pain a child suffers during divorce and separation. Through my own experiences and through the course of my work, I have realized that the absence of one parent from their lives is what has the greatest impact and causes the most pain on a child. Therefore, while divorce or separation may be inevitable, it does not mean that a parent must now be absent from a child's life, especially when that parent has been a part of your child's life from the start.
This is why the work I do as a family law attorney is incredibly important. I am able to not only help families navigate the complicated judicial system, but also, and most importantly, I am able to guide families towards making better decisions and to actually consider their children's best interest by setting aside, even if momentarily, their own emotional conflicts that may have a negative impact on their children. This is why I love what I do because I can have a positive impact on the lives of my clients and their children.
As a child of divorced parents, I know how it feels to be left out of the equation. I use this knowledge and experience to help my clients make better decisions and to think about how their actions will affect their children. Divorce is not easy, there will always be conflicting emotions involved, and the court system is not entirely easy to navigate. But, I am here for you, to guide you and help make the process smoother, for you and for your family.