The Power of Humility in Custody and Divorce Cases

Betty White’s rendition of “Get Low” in The Proposal is one for the ages. Most of us understand the song itself has very little to do with custody, divorce, or humility. But Lil’ Jon has unwittingly provided some of the best legal advice around when dealing with an emotionally-charged situation like divorce or custody: get low. Let’s work it out.

Humility is defined by Google as “a modest or low view of one’s own importance; humbleness.”  Another source, the Bible, states: “do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment.” Romans 12:3.  Mahatma Ghandi, Mother Teresa, Jesus, Martin Luther King, and Abraham Lincoln will go down in history as some of the greatest leaders of all time.  They come from different backgrounds, different religions, and different ethnicities.  What is the one characteristic each of these individuals shares? Humility.  There are two main aspects of humility we can glean from their lives in our own efforts to “get low”.

  1. Humility can feel like martyrdom: if you are in an emotional relationship or the aftermath of an emotional relationship, it can feel like you are the only one sacrificing when it comes to compromise. You may even feel like giving in or coming to an agreement with the other person is agony. Ye,t if you approach disagreements or discord with sober judgment, understanding how you contributed to the situation, you think more clearly and rationally. And good decisions come from rational thinking. Am I promulgating that you live in or agree to situations which are dangerous to you or your children? Heck no. But, instead of always placing blame on the other side for each issue you face, review your own actions with humility. It may not feel like it, but humility (“getting low”) is a powerful tool when used correctly.
  2. Humility’s power may not be immediate, but it is lasting: when you think about the people listed above, most were not appreciated or praised during their lifetime. Rather, their impact was felt many generations later. J esus, Martin Luther King, Mahatma Ghandi, and Abraham Lincoln were so despised during their time that they were murdered. And yet, there are few humans who have had a greater impact on the world. In almost every custody case I have seen, the person who exercised humility during the hard times becomes the parent that the children eventually choose on their own. It may not happen immediately. It may not happen for years. But it will happen.

Getting low is hard (especially for those of us who know this song well, which also means our joints are not what they used to be). Getting low in emotional situations is even harder. But humility is worth the effort. And, humility will leave you, in the long term, 3-6-9 so darn fine.

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