As a divorce lawyer and mediator, you might expect me to be salivating over the hacking of Ashley Madison and the publication of its subscription list.  My friends and colleagues joke that we divorce lawyers and mediators should get ready for a wave of new business from those who will soon be outed to their spouses as being on Ashley Madison, a website devoted to hookups for married people.  As a happily (re)married man, it saddens me that such a site exists, and that so many (usually) men would take the chance of destroying their families for the temporary excitement of an affair.

If you have done just that, let me first say that I am first in line to help you mitigate the damage for the sake of the children and your post-divorce life.  There are precious few who can rebuild the trust in a marriage rocked by an extramarital liaison. The next best option is to choose a mediator or lawyer who can minimize the collateral damage and get your divorce on to a cooperative footing.  An affair is not the unforgivable sin, and I know many guys in parenting plans who have found fulfilling family and career lives following the breakup.

But if you’re thinking of sailing your ship into those waters, let me give you a preview of the ocean of hurt into which you are charting course.

The average California divorce with children costs more than $20,000 per party ($40,000 total) in legal fees and costs, and I’ve seen many spend much, much more.  Add to that the possibility of a need-based attorney fee awarded to your spouse, and that’s one expensive fling.

And, I don’t think most people are prepared for is the pain of seeing their former groom or bride across a crowded courtroom.  I handle divorce litigation for a living, but I still find it painful to see my ex in court, even after 10 years of separation from her.  The system is not designed to be fair and equitable; it’s designed to accommodate those who want a divorce, no matter what the reason.  In my litigation practice I see many decent people become basket cases of anger and fear on the day of their first Request for Order hearing.

If you’re already facing a breakup I have some good news.  You can get through this with your relationships in tact, and for much less money, by choosing mediation to resolve your case.  We’ve helped literally hundreds of clients divorce for about 10 percent of the average cost (about $2,500 per party) while saving their long-term family and career goals.

But if you haven’t yet taken the plunge into that shark-infested pool, my advice is count the cost, and ask yourself if it’s really worth it.

I remain …

Very truly yours,

Thomas D. Ferreira, Esq.

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