The Long, Painful And Sometimes Unjust Divorce Process

divorce process

By Jackie Pilossoph, Founder, Divorced Girl Smiling, the place to find trusted, vetted divorce professionals, a podcast, website and mobile app.

If you are going through a divorce and feeling frustrated by the divorce process–how long it’s taking, some unfair things that seem to be going on, feeling like you just want it to be over, and tired of the expense of divorce, you are not alone.

When it comes to the divorce process, it can be long, painful, expensive and seem very very unjust.


Here are some examples of injustice in the divorce process that came from the Divorced Girl Smiling facebook group:

1. A woman’s ex refuses to abide by a clause in their divorce agreement that has specific pick up and drop off times for their children.

Her ex is constantly late, and she has taken him back to court several times. But, there is no consequence given by the judge. No fine. No jail time. No penalty at all. So, why should the ex listen to the agreement? All the court does is hear the case and say “Don’t do it again.” Then, the woman gets her invoice from her lawyer and owes $3000. And the ex knows this, so he keeps doing it.


The Center for Divorce Recovery


2. A woman wrote “I finally got some child support today.”

Although she was happy, she had probably been to court several times and it most likely cost her thousands of dollars in attorney’s fees to finally get what she was legally awarded in the first place. No fine against the ex for not paying. Why didn’t he have to pay her attorney’s fees? I just don’t get it.

3. One woman’s ex made up allegations against her for drug use.

He told her in private he was going to destroy her. She ended up with supervised visitation and almost lost custody, until she was able to “prove” her case to the judge. Why can someone just make up stuff and the person accused is assumed guilty until they spend tens of thousands on an attorney to prove their innocence? And then once they prove their innocence, why doesn’t the accuser (who falsely accused her) have to pay the attorney’s fees or have any consequences?)

4. A woman’s ex told the children lies and manipulated them into hating their mother.

They have not spoken to her in almost a year. The court system is very slow in making decisions and the woman therefore has had to just sit and wait (and pay attorney’s fees during this time, mind you.) She is the victim, yet no one (not even the GAL, who knows exactly what is going on, seems to care enough to speed up this process and set things straight.) Meanwhile, the more time that goes by, the more alienated the children are becoming from their mother.


Here’s the thing. I would love to believe that the divorce process and the court system works wonderfully and that it provides justice and the truth, and sets everyone on the path to moving on and starting a new, better and more productive life. And in some cases, it does.


I know many really good divorce attorneys, but I also know some bad ones. Really bad ones. I think that many divorce attorneys get burned out, they have too many cases and they are unable to empathize with their clients. Plus, if you think about it, the structure of the system is very bad because the attorneys get paid hourly, so theoretically, if they are unethical, they could have the motivation to drag the case on and on so they can make more money. I’m not saying all attorneys do this, but I do know some who do.


I have also seen the burn out, the excessive workload and non-empathy from judges. The decisions I have seen certain judges make in certain cases cause me to cringe and become nauseous because they were such bad decisions.


Bridging the Gap Between Conflict and Resolution


These judges are making decisions knowing too little, and not having the time or patience to really think things through. What is so very scary is that a judge can make a decision based on his or her mood that day! Again, I am not talking about all judges. But I have seen horrendous decision making also. In one case, a judge said, “I just don’t want to make this decision today. Come back in 60 days.” OK…. so an innocent woman has to be without her children for another 2 months.


I often wonder something that I wish I could directly ask a judge. If someone comes back to court because his or her ex didn’t abide by a court order, and if a judge finds the ex in contempt, then why does the ex not get a consequence? Why not a fine that has to be paid right then and there? The ex should have to pay the legal fees for their spouse right then and there—with checkbook in hand or they go to jail until it is paid. Sound too harsh? If you say yes, then you’ve never been in the shoes of a person going through a divorce with a difficult ex who doesn’t pay attention to the divorce agreement.


Also, if there is a clear indication of parental alienation, then why wouldn’t a judge hand over custody to the victim that minute? There should be no ifs, ands or buts here. The bottom line is, I think some judges are just way too soft and give too many chances. If the judges would inflict consequences, then the judges would have a lot less cases because people would stop breaking the law!


Amanda Campbell, Financial Advisor and Managing Director, Wealthspire


The biggest thing you can do to stop the long, painful and unjust process of divorce is get divorced via mediation. Now, I realize that isn’t always possible and that isn’t always in a person’s control. But, if you are litigating your divorce because you feel like you hate your ex and you don’t want to talk to him or her or deal with the person at all, think again. If you mediate your divorce, the process is soooo much shorter and less expensive, but guess what? The biggest thing is that YOU have control over the decisions that will be made about your post divorce life–which includes custody schedules, alimony, child support, the house, EVERYTHING.

Divorce mediation isn’t cookie cutter. You, your ex and the mediator can craft creative solutions that work for everyone. Also, if you are in the midst of litigation, you can always tell your attorney you want to try to mediate the divorce. In other words, it’s never too late to mediate.

I know you are angry, I know you can’t stand your ex, I know you think that mediating your divorce is going to cause you to have to sit in a room with your ex and talk, but I promise you, it’s going to give you a better divorce outcome. So, if you can mediate, then do it!


I want to offer some advice to those going through a divorce where they feel injustice and unfairness that leads to frustration.


The Law Office of Christine Diorio



I recently talked with a therapist who explained that frustration is a combination of two things: helplessness and rage.

So, if you are frustrated, you are most likely feeling helpless-like no matter what you do, things are not changing for the better, and that there is really nothing else you can do and no good solution. And, you can’t physically speed up the legal process, you can’t change your ex’s behavior, you can’t change your attorneys fees, and you can’t change the decisions a judge is making.


Frustration also includes being furious. How can you not be?? You have a lot to be pissed about.



So, how does one cope with frustration? The therapist was telling me “you just have to learn how to sit with it.” Huh? What? How the hell do you do that?!

     1. Patience.

It’s very difficult but you have to have patience and see the end game in your head.

     2. Grace.

Remember to keep your dignity and not call everyone you know and badmouth your ex.

      3. Strength.

This is a time to be strong and have confidence that you are doing everything you can, and whatever happens is out of your control.

     4. Faith.

Have faith that God and the system (slow as it is) will eventually show the truth and justice will prevail.


Karen Covy - Live the life you truly want to live.


     5. Breath.

Use your breath, big inhales and exhales to calm yourself and stay in the present. When the mind drifts to “what if?…” it can be toxic to your mental health.

     6. Enjoyment.

Life is meant to be enjoyed, so whatever else in your life that you like doing, do it. Leave the divorce process and the judging to the judges and go live your life. Because if you wait for the legal process, you will be wasting years of your life.

     7. Love.

No matter how unfair the divorce process seems, don’t stop loving. Love your family, your spouse (if you have one) and of course, your kids. And lastly, love yourself. At the end of the day, if you know you have done all the right things, made all of your decisions based on what you think is right and fair and best for you and your kids, then you have done great! If you can look in the mirror and like what you see, then you should be able to be at peace, not only with waiting for justice, but with the outcomes that might or might not be in your favor.

Like this article? Check out “Riding The Roller Coaster Of Divorce”

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    Divorced Girl Smiling welcome video
    Jackie Pilossoph

    Editor-in-chief: Jackie Pilossoph

    Jackie Pilossoph is the Founder of Divorced Girl Smiling, the media company that connects people facing with divorce to trusted, vetted divorce professionals. Pilossoph is a former NBC affiliate television journalist and Chicago Tribune/Pioneer Press features reporter. Her syndicated column, Love Essentially was published in the Chicago Tribune/Pioneer Press and Tribune owned publications for 7 1/2 years. Pilossoph holds a Masters degree in journalism from Boston University. Learn more at:

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