Find me a mean Divorce Lawyer, she said.

That’s easy, there are lots of them in every town, I said. But can I ask why, I said?

And then this poor broken-hearted woman, Tyler, told me why she needed a mean lawyer.

Her husband had walked out on her and their two children, Lexie and Will, who were only two and three.

She wanted Drew to come back home. She had loved her life with him, and just wanted to wake up from her nightmare.

She knew Drew was seeing a work colleague, because he’d rung her from his hotel in Singapore and told her all about it. She was sure that if only they could talk properly, it could all be fixed. She knew how much he loved the kids, and that meant he must have been having some kind of breakdown. He wouldn’t want to leave them.

So can you tell me a little bit more about how a mean lawyer could help you talk to Drew and try to recover your marriage, I said.

I don’t know she said, but that’s what everyone tells me I need to do, she said.

Tyler had no income, she was terrified of losing her house, and how could she go back to work when the kids were so little? Would Drew support her and the kids? What about her car? There was  a lease payment due. Maybe Drew would do the right thing? Or maybe only if a mean lawyer got onto the case? She didn’t even know who Drew was anymore!

Perhaps a counsellor could give you some help to manage your immediate panic and distress, I said. 

Maybe you could ask Drew about the money you need to live and for mortgage and car payments, I said.

Can I do that without a lawyer she said?  What if I get upset or say the wrong thing, she said.

We could work on the message together, and decide on the next steps after you’ve emailed Drew I said.

Most people won’t be surprised to learn that Drew agreed to do the right thing, because he did love his children, and because he was too smart to let the bank or the lease company get involved and ruin his credit rating. It will also be no surprise to hear that Drew was feeling incredibly guilty, and thought everyone would think he was an absolute jerk. Who walks out on a gorgeous young wife and their two children?

The way Drew and Tyler’s life looked to the rest of the world wasn’t the way it felt for him. He didn’t feel successful, he felt like a fraud, and was waiting for the day he would be found out as not being up to scratch as the CFO of the shiny big company he worked for. He didn’t stand back and look at his lovely home with two of just the right cars in the driveway. He stood back and saw a house of cards, a pile of debt, and decades ahead of him, living a life that he didn’t know how he’d created. His nights and days were full of panic. And he’d been completely silent about it all. He was not in a good way.

Drew was practically expecting to be met at the airport by that mean lawyer he was sure Tyler’s family would arrange. He was not sure what to think when he got Tyler’s level headed email, asking him to sit and have  a conversation with a counsellor when he got back. To be honest, that was the second last thing he wanted to do, after meeting Tyler’s father! And he was still half-waiting for the mean letter from the mean lawyer by the time they got to the counsellor.

For Tyler and Drew, the panic has subsided. It would be nice to be able to say that they got back together, but that’s not the case. It is though, nice to be able to say that there are no mean lawyers on the case. Instead there is a child psychologist, a counselling psychologist and a financial advisor and tax accountant on the case. Eventually, Tyler and Drew plan to work out a settlement with their good-hearted lawyers.

“I was ready to poke his eyeballs out! Sometimes I’m still tempted. A bit. But mostly I’m glad that I had the chance to think about what I was doing before I set the dogs onto Drew. I’m really grateful to (collaborative lawyer) for slowing me down and asking me the right questions”. Tyler. Aged 34. Physiotherapy student. Mother. Sister. Daughter. Sister-in-law. Grand daughter. Niece. Friend. Auntie. Oh yes, and ex-wife.

Marguerite Picard
Lawyer. Peacemaker. Calm agent.