Divorce Mind Reading
By Jeff J. Horn, Esq.
As a divorce and family lawyer for over 20 years, I am often asked to predict the future. In a divorce case, predicting the future means divorce mind reading. I must be an expert in reading the mind of your spouse, your spouse’s lawyer and the judge. I believe I am quite an expert in divorce mind reading. Will I be right? It seems that researchers at Carnegie Mellon University have cracked the code for mind reading. Scientists can use FMRI and computer analysis to read our thoughts – 60 Minutes
Divorce Mind Reading patterns
The flaw in my thinking is that everyone thinks they’re pretty good at mind reading. The fact is we are pretty bad at mind reading. Mind Reading. I am imperfect at divorce mind-reading. Thousands of divorce and family law cases later, however, I can see patterns.
I represent Antonio. Louisa is represented by a terrific attorney named Peter. There are many assets. Income-producing real estate and a closely-held business both need to be valued. We quickly agree on a strategy to value the assets for equitable distribution and options for equitable distribution of those assets. We are down to alimony.
Whereby, cooperation has now stopped and stonewalling has begun. Previously cooperative, Louisa is not responding to our alimony discussion. I begin divorce mind reading – really pattern detection – Louisa is listening to her cheerleaders. Peter confirms the pattern. Louisa has now turned alimony over to her friends.
Cheerleader Divorce Mind Reading
Louisa’s friends are convinced that Antonio is hiding income. They tell her repeatedly. With absolutely no information, Louisa now begins to play hardball. Concurrently, I tell Antonio that our alimony number is and the Judge’s number. (giver or take a few dollars). Flabbergasted, Antonio pleads with Louisa to end the case and not make the lawyers rich. Unfortunately, Louisa takes Antonio’s pleading back to her cheerleaders for another round of divorce mind reading. Divorce mind reading makes a whole bunch of money for the lawyers and causes enormous grief.
Is your lawyer expert in Divorce Mind Reading?
Before hiring your divorce lawyer, discuss predicting the future. When a lawyer tells you exactly how a complex divorce case will end, be suspicious. Guarantees are hard to come by. Welcome a lawyer’s confidence but hedge against salesmanship and “telling you what you want to hear.” Rely upon your divorce lawyer to detect patterns but do not insist on perfect predictions.
Your spouse professes expertise in Mind Reading
Wishful thinking. Do not listen to your spouse on the topic of divorce mind reading. The spouse who claims divorce mind reading powers is wishing their “will” upon you. Consider the formidable powers of political push polls. When a person locked in uncertainty is met with another selling certitude the seller’s results can be remarkable. The Mind and the Ballot: The Role of Psychology in Elections.
In a divorce, one person may have the bulk of the power. One spouse made all of the decisions in the marriage. That spouse will want to make all of the decisions in the divorce. It does not take a degree in divorce mind reading to understand this. The ability to balance a checkbook does not translate to omnipotence in divorce. For the lower power spouse, use your lawyer as a shield. Do not be lulled into a trance by your spouse.
How much money will I get?
Most divorces boil down to money. How much money will each spouse receive?
Mostly, divorces between long married couples, results in both receiving a comparable pile of assets. It is uncommon that both will feel the same way after the divorce. The one who engaged in hours and hours of divorce mind-reading will inevitably second-guess the result. Conversely, the spouse that eschewed divorce mind reading, will be grateful and happy to move on. You don’t get paid for extra worrying.
Ask the Judge
A week does not go by when a client tells me that he or she will be calling the judge. My responses vary from, ”that is what you have me for” to “I think you will be better off representing yourself.” Not every attorney-client match was made in heaven. Particularly, not every divorce lawyer and divorce client was built to last.
The Judge will not be taking your call. Judges make decisions based upon evidence presented through documents and exhibits submitted, argument and testimony. Telephone calls with angry divorce litigants are not part of the equation. Judges look for patterns. They do not engage in divorce mind reading. When the Judge makes a decision on your case it is based upon findings of fact and conclusions of law.
Indeed, a random phone call to the court puts you on the crazy radar. A member of the staff fields your telephone call. You will not speak to the Judge directly. No matter how coherent your point maybe, simply, telephone calls are not the way to argue your case. Oh and the Judge will know you are one of the crazy litigants that calls in.
Someday, the Judge may deploy the technology under research at Carnegie Mellon University. I cited the article above. Your brain in a functional MRI. You are asked questions. Different parts of your brain will light up and alas, divorce mind-reading.
The problem with this type of Divorce Mind Reading his everyone will know what you are thinking – even the crazy thoughts
Technology spins ahead whether we like it or not. Judges and courts were slow to the technology party. Thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, technology like video conferencing has rolled out nationwide. Lower-level Court activity like traffic court is disappearing. Computers will offer you a downgrade on your ticket and be happy to collect the money with no court involvement. Artificial intelligence is already spiraling through our court decision making and soon will be out of the ground like a fast-growing crop.
Artificial Intelligence is Coming to Your Divorce
Count on mind-reading technology to change society in a dramatic way. If we walk in truth, mind-reading technology will serve as a magic elixir. If, however, mind-reading technology is only in the hands of the very few, the incentives to manipulate will be too great. The potential riches for those that can genuinely read minds whether in the realms of divorce or love or high finance will be too great to control.
In the interim, build your divorce case around your goals. Manage your emotions through mental and physical health. Skip the divorce mind reading for now.
Photo by https://unsplash.com/@dmncarr