The family courts of most states, including Rhode Island’s, grew out of the need to address the countless people who had become married and now wanted to go their separate ways. Yet the civil courts of most states already had large civil courts to address contract issues.
The general idea was whether to keep expanding the large civil courts a little bit more each time married people wanted to go their separate ways and each wanted a share of what they had built while they were married, or to create a new court or division of the court entirely to involve matters arising out of family situations, including for those people who wanted to leave their spouse and take part of what they had built together with them. Thus, the family courts were born out of a need to address these issues and many others that grew out of “family situations.”
A problem arises though from today’s modern media and the romanticism that has grown out of marriage and made it a huge money-making industry.
Think about it. Many young women today dream of the day of their wedding from the time they own the Barbie Bride Doll(tm). They envision the elegant wedding dress and veil, the beautifully adorned bridesmaids accompanied by groomsmen wearing tuxedos with all variety of flowers displaying vibrant colors and filling the air with the sweet fragrance of love. Then there is the wonderful reception surrounded by friends and family and food fit for a king. It all culminates in the beginning of your life with your soulmate on a tropical island walking hand in hand along the beach as you kiss your perfect mate as the moonlight dances along the small soothing waves of the water.
Yet in all of this people have forgotten the origins of marriage that still remain today. Even today marriages throughout the United States require a wedding license application, witnesses are often needed for the exchange of vows (aka promises) to one another. At the end of the ceremony the parties to the marriage, the officiant and the witnesses sign the marriage certificate after the promises have been exchanged and they submit the document to the state to record the marriage.
Why is this all done? Take a look at it again. The husband and wife entered into a contract with one another. Their marriage is a contract.
The task of the family court in a divorce proceeding is to legally assist the parties when separating by dividing the contract that spouses entered into.
If you understand the concept of a contract, and accept that marriage is a legal contract being divided fairly by the court as if it were the division of a business partnership then you can more easily deal with it.
The main problem that arises in divorce proceedings is when husbands and wives are unable to extract their feelings about the relationship from the divorce itself. It’s understandable why many people find that hard to do because it is the relationship and its promises that form the underlying basis for entering into the contract to begin with.
It is strongly suggested that if your emotions are strong and you are entering into divorce proceedings for any reason, that you should get some counseling to help you deal with your emotional reaction to the divorce.
It is not easy to deal with a divorce, especially when you are dealing with a long-term relationship. Yet the longer the divorce goes on, the more time, money and energy you usually spend on the legal proceeding itself rather than addressing your relationship issues and moving on with your life.
When you realize and accept that the emotional and legal aspects of a divorce can be separated from one another, then you are able to achieve a better result in both. Oversimplifying it, you then deal with your emotion about the breakdown of the relationship with your counselor and you deal with the practical aspects of the breakdown of the marriage and moving on (i.e. division of your assets and debts) in the family court.
By achieving this separation between these two aspects, divorce should be easier.