The Way We Divorce is Tragic

The divorce rate in the USA is roughly 50 percent which means almost half of all marriages end in divorce.  In some disadvantaged communities, the divorce rate is closer to 70 percent.  It is difficult to quantify the damage this does to our communities, and most of all, our children. 

I have been practicing family law in North Texas for almost 27 years.  I have seen epic battles between husband and wife.  Our civil justice system is, by definition, an adversarial system.  So, when it comes to divorce, we simply turn our former soulmates into our adversary.  How sad is that?  Is it not tragic enough that the family is no longer going to be a nuclear family?  Perhaps there was simply no other alternative at the time, but who ever thought that it was a good idea to force parties who were once a nuclear family into legal enemies, especially when there are children involved?

Here is what the parties and their attorneys tend to forget in the heat of the moment:  they will still be a family after the divorce.  They will be a divorced family, but the children’s parents will still be their parents.  The adversarial system fails to recognize this simple fact.  I believe this one thing does more damage to the fabric of our country than almost any other factor. 

That is why I encourage anyone contemplating divorce to really try to save the marriage.  If that cannot be done, then they should try to make it as amicable as possible.  Parents need to know that how they handle their divorce is the single greatest and most important act of co-parenting that they will ever do. 

Written by Anthem Strong Families Board President Neal Prevost J.D.

Neal’s career started in the insurance, investments, and commercial real estate business after graduating from Baylor University in 1982 with a B.B.A. in Entrepreneurial Studies. He received his Law degree from Louisiana State University in 1993, where he was near the top of his class and a published member of the Louisiana Law Review.

In 1999, Neal formed the firm of Prevost and Shaff in Dallas Texas, with his law partner Louis Shaff. Prevost and Shaff has since evolved into Prevost, Shaff, Mason & Carns, a member of the Cabana Law Group.

Neal has extensive consumer law and family law experience. In that capacity, he has been giving financial advice as an integral part of his practice for twenty years. Recognizing the detrimental impacts of divorce, he has served for many years on the board of directors of ANTHEM Strong Families, a federally funded non-profit that seeks to enhance family stability in underserved communities in North Texas.

Neal has been married to his wife Lea Anne for 33 years. They live in McKinney, Texas where they raised two sons. Neal is a private pilot, is involved in his local church, and has served on the City of McKinney Bond Issue Advisory Council and the McKinney Board of Adjustment.

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