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Divorce: what to do to start well and not end so badly?

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If you feel that you can no longer cope with your marriage and want to end it, Diego Jaramillo, legal advisor, explains when to make the decision and how to do it, so as not to end up with resentments.

“When people get divorced, it should end in the best way, so that the grudges do not transcend,” he says. Diego Jaramillo, legal advisor specialized in Family Law, who chatted with Gabriela Vivanco, director of LA HORA, in episode 12 of Focus, a podcast from this medium.

Jaramillo—who has a specialty in Divorce Management and Conceptualization of the Human Being from Harvard and has 40 years of experience—explains what the divorce process is like, but not only from the technical side.

Q: From your experience, why do marriages end? According to the National Institute of Statistics and Censuses, the main cause of divorce is infidelity.

INEC statistics are numbers. We must go further. I do not justify in any way infidelity, but I think this is a consequence of immaturity and lack of communication. I cannot deny that there is a high dose of financial problems. In addition, the pandemic generated deterioration, although it was not at that time, it was when we started dating.

Q: Doesn’t one wake up overnight and say: I want a divorce?

Yes, I have had cases of people who from one moment to the next say: “I want a divorce” and their partner thinks: “you have someone else.” But not necessarily. When someone visits me to proceed with their divorce process, I ask them: “When did you separate?” And she answers: “Saturday and today is Monday.” I tell him to come back in two or three months. A fight and anger is one thing. Divorce causes a lot of problems. If you have children, each one is a problem. Your social environment, whether you like it or not, is also a problem, your job and the economy. It’s not that easy. You have to mature the separation. Enjoy or be distressed by those two or three months without him or her, to see if you can withstand the stress of divorce.

Q: Is it possible to see in retrospect where the relationship began to break down?

It is complex to establish when the damage occurred. But I have a theory, to me It is of no use to me to know when or why the marriage was damaged, because it is only to find culprits. What we have to find is why: one, so that we can rebuild or two, so that we can shake hands like good people.

Q: Does doing a retrospective process, when you are in the middle of this process or later, help you avoid making the same mistakes?

I don’t divorce people. What I try is for the divorce to end as poorly as possible, so that he or she does not end up resentful of a partnership. So that that person has an opportunity to rebuild their life, because if they end up resentful, they will not be able to reorganize their life. And if you don’t manage to overcome the problems that your divorce left you, in the next opportunity that life gives you, you are going to claim those problems and you are going to damage someone else’s life. When people get divorced they should try to end it in the best way.

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Q: All marriages are going to end. As a society it surprises us

You have to be prepared for that day. The marriage ends —due to death or divorce— and the person who remains has to be prepared. We should all think about that possibility, so as not to feel the tremendous shock of widowhood or divorce.

Q: How do we prepare?

First, live the day; enjoy your partner to the fullest, with mistakes, defects and difficulties. See the glass half full every day, not half empty. Enjoy the company.

Q: There are psychological studies that say that there are people who suffer so much from this trauma of the breakup during divorce that it causes clinical depression. And there are others who manage to see it as a transition from which we can learn. In your history, how has society changed?

If you ask someone older they say: “now they get married and divorced easily”; I do not think it is like that. Marriage as an institution is deteriorated. When I was young, it was said that people who hadn’t married until they were 30 missed the boat. Today they get married at 33, 35 or 37 and they do so with more maturity. Coexistence is important before marriage, because you present your real face.

Q: Is divorce a failure?

I wouldn’t want to call it failure; but a hard learningbecause the most important thing I have are my two children.

Q: What is the divorce process like?

Mutual agreement is when there is significant maturity on the part of the parties. and it is an additional additive when the economic resources are not very high, because the high ones generate other anxieties and concerns in the parties. Furthermore, the Law plays an important role, because – for example – in the case of alimony it refers to a percentage of income and not everyone likes it. For example, if someone earns 40 thousand dollars, which there may be, and they have to pay 18 thousand dollars in child support for two children of 6 and 4 years old, it is absurd. Because the pension is for the children, not for the mother. I suggest that you first make a mutual agreement on food and visitation, which is beneficial for the children, in a mediation center.. With that, the next day he goes to a notary office to sign. And there is no such confrontation between ex-husband and ex-wife.

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Q: What are the complications of going to trial?

Time. This judgment is conflicted, it has its instances. Furthermore, the judicial function has an overload of cases. On the other hand, mutual agreement—with a suitable mediator, because that must also be clear: look for one with experience who knows how to handle the issues, because otherwise you will waste time—is better. As long as they want to get divorced. I have had cases of people who have not wanted to do it.

How long can a marriage last in Ecuador?

Q: How does it work in those cases?

You have to wait six months to start the process, which will be long and cumbersome, due to food and visits. If they do not agree on visits. The judge will have to decide and there will be another instance and perhaps several, and that can take years.

Q: What role does the lawyer have and how do you focus on the well-being of children?

It is important, if you are looking for consensus, to be a win-win. For example, telling your female client: “if we apply the table you get 16 thousand dollars a month, but if they give you 10 thousand you will still live well”; and she understands that this is not self-enrichment. Or explain to the man: “You have a significant income, do not hide from me how much you earn, yes you can deliver the value. You’re not going to stay poor. And with that your children will be fine and so will your ex-wife.” When a father gives what his children and his ex-wife need and a little more, you are doing good to society, because You teach those children that if life hits them the same with a divorce, they have to be good people. It is taught by example.

Q: In this economic moment that the country is experiencing, in which much of the economy moves in the informal sector, how is the pension determined?

Here there is the National Directorate of Public Data, where everything that enters the person is recorded. Based on these data, the judges who have not received the information from the informal have a parameter and apply the table. But, if there are no invoices or records, there is no control over that.

Q: In the mediation process, can consensus be reached that determines certain conditions that are not necessarily those stated in the Law?

The mediation center can never set the child support lower than what would have been due if we went to a judge, because we would be undermining the rights of the minors.

Q: There are families that decide to split 50-50. One week they live with dad and the other with mom. Who pays alimony in this case?

There is no alimony, because half is being shared. The right to food arises for the benefit of minors when they live with a father or mother.

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Q: Is it correct to say that in this conflict there are two weapons: money and children? What is the role of the lawyer or the mediation center in disarming the parties so that they do not encounter these weapons?

We must make them understand that divorce is not a war, it is a means of peace. You divorce because you are in conflict. And here comes what we already said, you have to be a responsible person and give your children what they deserve according to your income. For example, if someone earns 1,200 dollars a month and the wife wants 1,800, because she is a member of the club and she also has to pay for other things, she has to understand that she earns 1,200. For this to work, maturity is required and letting go of anger, feelings and resentments. You not only have to do it for your children, but for yourself. The emotional peace of mind of knowing that you divorced well, that it allows you to sleep in peace and that your children never claim you, that is priceless.

Q: In your experience, how do you see cases when the ex-husband has the feeling of control over what happens inside the ex-wife’s house and the woman also has the feeling that she can control what happens in the man’s life?

Divorce begins when the judgment is issued. Getting used to the coexistence you had with that person is complicated, you have to work on that, because otherwise harassment problems will arise, which 20 years ago were common; now less. What there is now is manipulation of children, they ask them, “Have you seen your father with anyone?” We have to accept reality: “I got divorced because I wanted to and I’m happy if my ex-partner is too,” and not just pay lip service.

Q: There are men and women who are afraid of losing their partner. In these cases, physical, emotional and financial violence is sometimes experienced. In physics, if a woman is afraid to report, would it be advisable for her to document, for when she decides to divorce?

Physical violence is a criminal act that has its own sanction. One of the causes of article 110 of the Civil Code is violence between spouses. It is important to document it. (JG)

Listen to the full episode, where we cover other topics, for example:

How does the grounds for leaving home for divorce work? What happens if the woman lives with the children and earns more than the father, who pays the alimony? Can you get divorced without a lawyer? Do divorced parents produce children who seek dysfunctional relationships?

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