"Trailblazer” isn’t a term often associated with divorce professionals. With the divorce rate hovering around 50 per cent, and over a million children annually experiencing their parent’s divorce, it is critical that couples understand the impact of divorce on families, children, the individual and society.
What I find most astounding is that the divorce rate rises with subsequent marriages (http://www.more.ca/relationships/single-life/divorce-myths-debunked/a/30888) – this only demonstrates that people are not learning from their mistakes, and/or not taking the time to understand their own needs and expectations. Divorce education is imperative. It’s easy to see why divorce has spawned a lucrative industry.
Without trying to sound too self-important, I am proud to have been referred to as a trailblazer, because I transformed my pain into a career that helps so many others. I am passionate about educating the public about divorce — the process, and the significant impact upon an individual and the family. Getting through my divorce was not easy; it was full of emotion, and needless to say significant legal bills. I learned many lessons along the way of my long protracted divorce journey, which is how I came to write The Smart Divorce: Proven Strategies and Valuable Advice from 100 Top Divorce Lawyers, Financial Advisers, Counselors, and Other Experts(Chicago Review Press, 2007). I wrote the book so that I could share my pain and others could heal from the lessons. I personally interviewed over 100 of North America’s foremost divorce professionals, so that others could be empowered with knowledge, and avoid my mistakes — while saving time, money and their sanity.
My role model for becoming a trailblazer in the divorce arena is Justice Harvey Brownstone. Justice Brownstone, Canada’s first openly gay judge, is single-handedly transforming the public image of the judiciary and enhancing access to justice. The public is desperately hungry for reliable, accessible information they can turn to about a myriad of issues impacting on relationships, parenting and the well-being of kids. With so many ways of looking at the family, and the many configurations, Justice Brownstone will also explore a number of issues related to same-sex relationships including marriage, adoption, parenting, surrogacy, and so on.
There aren’t any judges in Canada, and only a handful in the United States, that actually go out on a limb to share their wisdom and expertise without judging. It isn’t often that I write about other individuals, but I felt that furthering the cause to promote a new television show called Family Matters was in order. This is a talk show created to educate and enlighten parents and families about issues that are of importance to the modern North American family. Justice Brownstone wants parents to get the best possible information, directly from a judge, about the realities of family court and the alternatives available to litigation, so that parents could make informed decisions about how to resolve parenting disputes in a way that meets the best interests of their children. The show will deal with everything from open marriages to sexual addictions to online security and privacy to relationship formation, sustenance and dissolution.
Divorce is far more than obtaining a separation agreement; it’s managing emotions and finances, as diverse as a business transaction and the children’s best interest. This journey is creating a new normal for divorcees who question what normal is, and don’ t want to be identified with labels. Separation and divorce are filled with many nuances, hidden agendas, and fears. It’s time people really stepped up to the plate and learned what’s involved before they make the decision to separate, rather than learn while they divorce. Perhaps we can all learn a lesson or two about why Family Matters — and maybe the negative impact of divorce on children, the family and society can be lessened. You can start by tuning into Family Matters with Justice Harvey Brownstone.
Tune in October 4, 10:30pm on CHCH and watch my interview with Justice Brownstone