By: Jazmyne Betters
In the game of chess, the Rook is the piece that starts in the back corner, unable to make any moves. In the beginning of the divorce process, a person may feel like they are backed into a corner, unable to do anything. When and if the right moves are made, the Rook becomes one of the most powerful pieces in the game. Similarly, making the right moves in your divorce will lead to feeling more powerful and in control of your life.
Just like a rook, you may not be able to move at the beginning of the process, but once pieces start to fall into place, you become powerful in the end.
According to “The Healthy Divorce” by Lois Gold, there are seven keys to a healthy divorce:
- Be unconditionally constructive.
- Don’t make any decisions based on your anger.
- If children are involved, separate your job as a parent from the conflicts with your spouse.
- Accept responsibility for your contribution to the divorce.
- Learn to understand your spouse’s viewpoint.
- Be willing to negotiate, compromise, and cooperate in resolving your differences.
- Make a commitment to an equitable and non-adversarial settlement process.
Focus through the Foolery. To get through a divorce, like a chess game, a person has to be able to remain focused on the end game—which can be achieved by not allowing emotions to cloud judgment. While it is inevitable to go through the emotional stages of divorce, choosing to be constructive and moving forward is essential to healing. “To achieve success in any area, you must first be able to visualize yourself succeeding”.
Choosing Competent Counsel. A person may take months or years to get the courage and strength to dissolve their union, but once this decision has been made, selecting the right attorney is critical to the game. A divorce is one of the most vulnerable stages in a persons life when their finances, fidelities and feelings are exposed and it is imperative to have counsel where there is a mutual relationship of respect and trust. One lawyer can have the Rook grow into the second most powerful chess piece, while another lawyer can have the Rook reduced to the capacity of a pawn.
Divorce Can be a Long Dance. Chess games are slow, steady and may last for several hours. It is generally not a game that tolerates impatience or short-sighted goals. Like chess, perseverance and the ability to grasp the bigger picture is necessary during a divorce. Under Texas Family Code Section 6.702, a divorce may not be finalized until the expiration of at least 60 days. Nonetheless, when there are children or financial matters involved, most divorces takes months to finalize.
In many ways the game of chess is a metaphor for life. In the divorce process, as in the chess’ Rook, while a person may start off with limitations, it is how well they play the piece that determines how the game will unfold.