“Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding. Much of your pain is self- chosen…It is the bitter potion by which the physician within you heals your sick self…”

Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet


There once was a divorce lawyer in St. Petersburg, Florida, Jim Wallace, who would refer to the courthouse as “the house of pain”.   Although Mr. Wallace passed away several years ago, his description of the divorce experience remains accurate for many.

As a divorce lawyer in Clearwater Florida, I reflect upon the causes of this pain. Pain is understandable when someone has been betrayed, or is grieving the end of a relationship.  Pain is also understandable in a different way when one is unduly and inordinately attached in an unhealthy way to things, ideas, and people.

Jack Kornfield puts it this way: “The near enemy of love is attachment.  Attachment masquerades as love…Where there is attachment, there is clinging and fear.  Love allows, honors, and appreciates; attachment grasps, demands, needs, and aims to possess.”

Becoming unattached is something that most of us need to work on.  As Kahlil Gibran points out in the quote above, not all pain is bad.  Rather, it is part of a growth process.  It is not uncommon for former clients to contact me and share that they are in a much happier and better place than they were during the divorce process.   To the extent that our pain can transform and heal us, it is a necessary component to closure in divorce cases.

by Patrick Gaffney

by Patrick Gaffney