Reasons for Divorce & Client Animosity
Interviewer: Okay. What are some common reasons people give you for wanting a divorce?
Anitha Johnson: One reason, which I hate to say or admit, is spousal cheating. Other reasons are that the parties have grown apart, or one party feels that they’ve done most of the work, they’ve been the primary contributor to the marriage, and they’re tired of one side paying all the bills and contributing and the other side not doing anything.
Interviewer: When people come to you, do they want to tear the other party up? Or do they want to just end things peacefully? What happens more often?
Anitha Johnson: I like the clients that just want to end things peacefully and it appears that when someone is already ready to move on, they may just want to end things.
[Sometimes, someone has already found someone else, or they’re certain of their decision and they just want to move on. Some people have left money or they felt somehow victimized during the marriage, like their word didn’t count or their paying didn’t count. They’re trying to prove something. ]
Interviewer: Say someone wants to be vicious to the other side – will you not take the case or refer this out, or will you handle the case?
Anitha Johnson: I give them real advice about what they can or cannot do, and if they want to be vicious, I would still take the case, but I would let them know of my limitations. I spoke to a potential client in Maryland whose only issue was property. They didn’t have any children. He was mad because she didn’t want to be with him. I explained to him that she has the right to choose not to be with him and he’s asking me how can he punish her. I told him there’s nothing he can do to punish her. So he decided not to hire because I didn’t tell him unrealistic things that he could do and, as a result, he hired someone else and he still got the same thing I told him.
Interviewer: Well, that makes sense. Okay. Do you ever get asked about annulments? Do you get annulments out the door?
Anitha Johnson: Not many. I would say a misconception about annulment is that you can get an annulment just because of another time. Say you’ve been married for a month and you decide you don’t want to be with the person. You think you could get an annulment, but that’s not true. That’s not even a ground for annulment. It may be in another state – or maybe Vegas – where a certain amount of time has passed, but in Maryland, there has to be certain things, like misrepresentation. Maybe the other spouse didn’t tell you something – a pertinent or important issue – impotency, mental disability, force, things you didn’t know about.