Graduating, Bar Exam, and Getting Divorced

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Graduating, Bar Exam, and Getting Divorced

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jan 18, 2017 7:35 pm

I am a 3L (top 10%) at a T25 and starting at a biglaw firm in August after graduation and the Bar. I'm also married with a daughter in 1st grade and I've come to the realization that I will need to get a divorce at some point. My spouse has been a pretty heavy drug addict for quite a few years now and for one reason or another I have continuously failed to work up the courage to get a divorce. However, it has become apparent recently that spouse is not getting better and I'm not sure if it is in my daughter's best interest to remain married. I've kind of been so busy taking care of my daughter and doing law school for the past 2.5 years that it always seemed like the logistics of a divorce would just not work out and allow me to remain in law school (spouse has not reacted well on the few occasions that I have broached the possibility of an amicable split)

So- my question is: When would be the best time to go about hiring an attorney and filing for divorce? Would it be advisable to get this done right after Spring Semester and before the Bar? Or would it be easier to wait until after I have worked for a few months at my new job (this option would also make the process a lot easier financially). Spouse will not react well upon learning of my intentions and I am afraid that I may have to lay low for a brief period while (s)he calms down. Spouse is highly unstable emotionally and I can foresee a time period where there will be a lot of uncertainty about how (s)he will react and I would like for that time period to occur at the most workable time.

I appreciate any insight- and if anyone has personal experience with this; I would really appreciate advice.

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zot1

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Re: Graduating, Bar Exam, and Getting Divorced

Postby zot1 » Wed Jan 18, 2017 7:38 pm

First, I'm really sorry you're going through this. Second, I don't know that anyone can give you advice on this. Only you know what's best for your kid.

Good luck.

deference

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Re: Graduating, Bar Exam, and Getting Divorced

Postby deference » Wed Jan 18, 2017 7:46 pm

Man...that sounds like a really tough decision. I also don't have any good advice for you since I already have a hard time balancing my child and work even with a very loving and caring spouse. I do have a guy friend who had to bring up his now 11 year old all by himself because the mother was a drug addict. What's worse is that his son battled eye cancer when he was two. Because of all that he sacrificed a lot professionally and put his career on autopilot for the past ten years. He has now finally turned a new leaf and advancing up the ladder. All the power to you if you manage to juggle both a fruitful BigLaw career and raising a kid. I've seen it done through my friend, albeit unconventionally, and you most likely have to anticipate a crooked career path.

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Re: Graduating, Bar Exam, and Getting Divorced

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jan 18, 2017 7:50 pm

I do not have kids, and my divorce took place earlier than yours (0L-1L), so my ability to advice you on this is limited. But I would recommend doing this sooner rather than later. First, once you have it done you will be amazed that you ever waited.

Second, although you will be busy, your time as a 3L, during bar study, and between the bar exam and starting your job will be more flexible than after you start working. To the extent you want to protect yourself and your daughter from a potentially unstable spouse, it is easier to do so when you can study for the bar from a friend or relative's house with your daughter in sight than when you are at the office for 14 hours in a row and your daughter is at school or being taken care of by a stranger.

I am still terrified that my unstable ex-spouse will impact my reputation at work by doing something crazy. I'm glad I dealt with that as soon as possible and before I had work stresses to deal with.

Good luck!

ClubberLang

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Re: Graduating, Bar Exam, and Getting Divorced

Postby ClubberLang » Wed Jan 18, 2017 8:03 pm

I'd think the sooner the better because of the possibility of spousal support on a big law salary. If you have already decided, talk to a family lawyer now.

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Re: Graduating, Bar Exam, and Getting Divorced

Postby SFSpartan » Wed Jan 18, 2017 8:14 pm

I think you've asked an intensely personal question, and a lot of this is going to come down to what is right for you and your daughter. That said, I would try and get this out of the way as soon as possible if I were in your shoes. You have remarkable flexibility as a 3L that you won't have when you start work. You also may have limited flexibility during Bar study (depending on what jdx you take it in).

I'm really sorry you are going through this. Good luck

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Re: Graduating, Bar Exam, and Getting Divorced

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jan 18, 2017 8:25 pm

OP here-

Thank you for the responses. I realized shortly after posting that this is indeed an intensely personal thing to consider and I guess I was just caught up in how to go about it best without affecting my career. I think I may have just needed to write my thoughts down and hear how others would respond but I truly appreciate your insight.

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Re: Graduating, Bar Exam, and Getting Divorced

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jan 19, 2017 1:05 am

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Last edited by Anonymous User on Sat Jan 21, 2017 1:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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A. Nony Mouse

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Re: Graduating, Bar Exam, and Getting Divorced

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Thu Jan 19, 2017 1:13 am

I have been very very lucky never to have to deal with this, so I can't give you any really situation-specific advice. But I am an absolute PRO at putting off potentially painful things, and I would suggest doing it as soon as possible, too. For all the reasons everyone has given - you have more flexibility now, you've got the job already and your last semester of 3L is pretty unimportant grades-wise, you're not yet studying for the bar, and making a good impression at your new job will be important. But also because I don't think there will ever be an ideal time, and especially once you've started working, there will always be a lot of things going on and working "a few months" may turn into "after this assignment...after this trial...after [whatever else]." It's just so easy to avoid painful things. Plus (as I have to remind myself, a lot) 95% of the time dreading the painful thing is much worse than actually doing the painful thing.

But I am very sorry you're dealing with this and I hope you get it resolved with the minimum pain and stress.



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